How are we going to get out of this? We have an army of undead all around and god knows where we are! I know that there is little to no chance of us surviving, even if we make it through this challenge, there will just be another waiting for us. And while the enemy grows with each fallen survivor our numbers only grow smaller, and our resources dwindle more and more. What’s the point in fighting, if there’s no hope of victory?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Haven Chapter 15

Chapter 15

The first few raids we went on went on were quite successful. Just like the warehouse we targeted places that were away from small roads and residential areas, they were less likely to have been emptied. Regardless there were still some places which we got to too late, and wasted petrol and energy, but what we gained from our successful trips was worth the risk.

Everywhere we went we found varying sizes of first aid sets, and we filled our supply of bandages, painkillers and antiseptics quite quickly. Food was found often too, but less often was it fresh enough or preserved enough for it to be worth it. Weapons were also a rarity, and none were recovered for the two weeks since we started raiding. Blankets, wood for building, and basic supplies like toilet paper and toothpaste made up the majority of our haul.

While the raiding team were out, Will and Nicole were in charge, and they made good use of their time. They made sure everyone, including the raiding team, practiced their shooting, surprisingly Nicole supported this. She said that in a situation where someone needs to use a gun they might as well be trained. They also used the building materials we gathered to reinforce the warehouse, and create a bit more privacy between the sleeping areas. None of us had any experience in building or carpentering, but we learned quickly that it didn’t have to be pretty, just effective.

Eventually Malcolm was well enough that Nicole and I agreed to let him join the raiders, something Emma wasn’t happy about. Although our newest member was trusting us more and more I could tell she still didn’t feel at home. She had grown close to Lauren and eventually to Daniel, but she seemed uncomfortable eating our food without contributing anything worthwhile. Mainly Emma helped the others with the construction, but she thought that fighting and raiding would be a better use of her time. I suspected that the reason behind this was so that she could search for Anthony, which was just one of the many reason why I wouldn’t let her come along.

When he wasn’t off raiding Connor was working with Will to try and get in contact with anyone else with a radio, specifically other police stations. He never had any luck, but one day he came to me with a worrying suggestion. ‘You want to do what?’ I asked incredulously
‘I want to take the raiding team to a different police station,’ he answered insistently, ‘they haven’t made contact on the radio so it’s probably empty’
‘You haven’t stopped to think maybe they’re not answering because they’ve been overrun by the dead?’
‘The dead have no reason to be there,’ he said excited, ‘the army would have cleared the place out just like they did my station, there would be no one living there to attract them’
‘I don’t know Connor, police stations are usually in pretty packed areas’-
‘Not this one,’ he interrupted, ‘I chose this one specifically because it’s so separate from any other building.’ He showed me a map of the surrounding area and I had to agree it was pretty isolated.

But I wasn’t completely sure yet, what was worth risking travelling further than we ever have before for? ‘What do you hope to get out of this Connor?’ I asked, careful not to give him false hope
‘Isn’t it obvious? Guns,’ he answered, and I had to admit he had a point, ‘and not just that there should be more police radios there, another generator too.’ I groaned, trying to decide, the possible gains were more than tempting, but the memories of the last station were still fresh in my mind. After a while I decided, ‘we’ll take it before the group, let everyone decide.’

            I gathered everyone except Chris and Malcolm who were on watch. I carefully explained everything, the possibility of finding more guns, and the risk of entering another situation like the one we just got out of. A few nodded their heads, and a few asked questions, but after an hour it was time to make a decision. ‘So what do we do? Should we take the risk?’ I asked
            ‘Don’t you decide?’ Emma asked
            ‘He’s our leader not our general,’ Will replied sarcastically
            ‘This would be a risk everyone would take,’ I answered her, ‘it’s not my decision to make’
            ‘I don’t think you should go,’ Daniel spoke up, ‘we have enough guns for all of us here, and the generator and radios aren’t worth it’
            ‘We might have enough to sustain us, but what about others,’ Nicole disagreed, ‘eventually we will meet other people, or at least I hope so, and we would either fight them, join them, or trade. No matter what the outcome extra weapons, fuel and communication would help’
            ‘She’s right, our numbers will grow, hopefully, we should be prepared for that,’ Brooke pitched in
            ‘And who knows maybe we’ll meet other people at the station,’ Will added, and gestured to Connor and Andria ‘you guys were at the other one, maybe there will be some people hiding out in that one.’

            A few groups separated and began to discuss, but eventually I stopped them when I noticed Monica deep in thought. ‘What do you think?’ I asked her, but she didn’t even seem to react until she spoke
            ‘I think we should go,’ she agreed, ‘no matter what is waiting there for us, staying here and only raiding what is close won’t work forever. Eventually we will have to venture further, why not make it now?’ I agreed with her, and soon enough most others did too. Lauren and Daniel still disagreed, and after being consulted Malcolm did too, but they all conceded to go with the popular vote. I was glad of that, we may be a group, but too big of a disagreement and people could still leave. I valued everyone here more than I thought I would, even newer people like Emma, Andria, and Malcolm were important to me. Maybe it was because they thought of me as a leader, or maybe it was that for all I know they were the only other people left in this world besides me, but I didn’t want to lose anyone. Not to the dead, and not to pointless politics, I just hope everyone else felt the same way.

            I told Malcolm he didn’t have to join the rest of us if he disagreed with the choice we had made, but he said that if we were going to risk our lives, he might as well try and help save them. In the end only five of us were going to go on this raid, Jade and Chris were going to stay at the warehouse. In previous raids all seven of the raiders went because we weren’t gone long enough to worry. But if the dead came while we were away I’d prefer to have more than six people here.

            It was hard saying goodbye to Jade, even though it was only for a short while. On other raids she had come along, and I didn’t have to worry about us being separated, but now I did. ‘Come back to me okay?’ she said joking, but I knew she was worried
            ‘I’ll be back before tomorrow, I promise,’ it was a promise I hoped I would keep. The six of us got in the people carrier, usually we’d take the Ute and a small faster car for raids, but once again my concern for the others changed our tactics.

            For two weeks every time we left to raid I had a bad feeling in my gut, and now it was worse than ever. But I had learned to suppress it, nothing had gone wrong for a while, why would things go wrong now?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Haven Chapter 14

            Chapter 14

            After that she quickly began to trust us. She told us about how she ended up here, she was alone at a bus stop when the commotion started, but unlike others who stayed at home or ran to what they thought was safety she hid in the abandoned cars, only moving to find food when she was starving, or to change locations to avoid encountering the dead.

            Then one night while she was sleeping in a van, a group of men found her while siphoning fuel from the engine. While keeping her at gunpoint the stole all her belongings, food she had gathered, weapons she had made in case of emergencies. And lost among those things was sharks tooth necklace. ‘It was my brother’s,’ she explained emotionally, by this point it wasn’t about telling a story, for her it was reliving those events, making sure they were real, ‘He died before… before all this happened.’ Everyone was grim and silent, we had all gathered to hear her story but now I wondered whether it was such a good idea to crowd her.

            But Lauren came over and put an arm around her shoulder, that seemed to bring Emma back to her reality, and she continued her story. ‘I knew it was stupid but I wanted to get it back,’ she said bitterly, annoyed at her failure
            ‘It’s not stupid,’ Will reassured her, ‘it’s a memory of what you lost, those things are important’
            ‘Still I shouldn’t have been so reckless I’-
            ‘It’s all right,’ I interrupted, clearly she had had this argument with herself many times before, ‘just tell us what happened next’
            ‘I followed them, the stopped for the night not far away from where they robbed me. I snuck into the back of the car that’s outside here, when they stopped I thought we were at their, but soon they ran out screaming.’ I was surprised at that, I thought she hadn’t been here when we first arrived but apparently not.

            After a glass of water she began again, ‘I hid in the car again, I heard gun shots and a bunch of footsteps. I must have been in their for hours before I left,’ we all felt sympathy for her, we had all been in that situation, terrified of the dead, wishing you were anywhere else but being too afraid to leave. ‘When I did get out there was a body hanging against the door, and I could see the dead chasing two others away in opposite directions. I found a few bodies of the men inside’-
            ‘Marauders,’ Daniel corrected her
            ‘Marauders we’ve been calling them… marauders,’ Daniel realised how stupid he sounded and stopped talking.

            After a long awkward pause during everyone looked oddly at Daniel she finished her story. ‘I searched their bodies, and their stuff but I couldn’t find my brother’s necklace. But the time I realised it wasn’t there and went to find the two that got away I saw some cars coming and hid in the ventilation,’ she finished and Connor spoke after
           ‘That was us,’ he explained, ‘we actually found one of the marauders that got away’
           ‘What?’ she span around quickly, startling Connor, ‘did he’-
           ‘Not that we saw,’ I answered before she finished
           ‘That leaves only one other person,’ Nicole sighed
           ‘Anthony, they’re leader,’ Monica said sternly.

           Emma wanted to go after him, she even threatened to leave on her own, but Lauren, Will and a few others convinced her to stay. There was no way we would ever find him after all this time anyway. She calmed down after that, but she seemed to lose some of her spirit and barely spoke or reacted when Andria showed her, and those of us new to the new structure, around the warehouse. The only time she did seem to react was when she volunteered to help Lauren and Nicole with first aid and supplies. I think she felt guilty about her involvement with Malcolm’s accident.

           Malcolm had recovered a lot, and in a few days he was on his feet. The rest of us got more comfortable in the new space, and revived from their depression everyone got to work. Daniel hooked up the generator, but we never used it, but in an emergency we could use lighting in the first aid area, or the heaters on an especially could night. The strange thing was that we weren’t working towards anything. I realised after watching everyone train with a gun, or learn how to bandage a wound properly that we still had no goal. Nothing to look forward to.

           I knew I had to find something, or this new enthusiasm for training and preparedness wouldn’t last. But try as I might I couldn’t think of anything. One night I sat around a fire with Will, Nicole, Jade, Brooke, and Connor, talking about this topic. ‘You’re right,’ Nicole agreed, clearly she’d been thinking about this too, ‘without a goal this burst of energy will fizzle out eventually’
           ‘I’m not so sure, we haven’t seen any groups of more than 2 undead in ages,’ Jade spoke up happily, ‘why risk spoiling a good thing?’
           ‘Because eventually the dead will come,’ Brooke answered dismally
           ‘Or the living, we don’t know if Anthony is the only marauder left, or if there aren’t other groups out there that would kill us and steal our supplies without a second thought,’ Connor said, adding to the depressive mood.

           Not for the first time I wondered how many other groups were out there, struggling to survive. Some would be like the marauder’s yes, but others may be like us, trying to maintain our morals and sanity in these maddening times. ‘Maybe we should start scavenging again?’ Will suggested
           ‘Because that worked so well last time,’ Jade answered sarcastically
           ‘No I mean it,’ Will insisted, ‘we may have enough food to last us a while, but now that we’re in a defensible position, why shouldn’t we try to improve that position, and our quality of life at the same time?’
           ‘He’s right,’ Connor said all too quickly and I wondered how often they’d spoken of this before, ‘if we can find a good refrigerator we might be able to actually get some fresh meat in our diet’
           ‘Most meat would’ve gone off by now,’ Nicole said confused
           ‘He means we’d hunt for it,’ Brooke said matter-of-factly.

           ‘Maybe not,’ I disagreed, ‘I mean if we had an infinite amount of power and ammo then yeah sounds great but what if when he bad guys get here we have no petrol for the cars and no ammo for our guns?’ Everyone who had liked the idea quickly returned to their morose moods. I sighed and relented, ‘but maybe we can find new foods that don’t require power,’ Will smiled thankfully, ‘and along the way some creature comforts.’

           Everyone seemed to like the idea, and quickly word spread to everyone else about the new scavenging operations that would be happening. Eventually without even asking I had a team ready to go: Chris, Jade, Brooke, Monica, and Connor. Emma had made a strong case to come along, Malcolm too, but I shut them both down, out of concerns for Malcolm’s health, and Emma’s age. Deep in my gut though I had a bad feeling, that leaving the safety of the warehouse was a bad idea. But I knew even that feeling of safety was a lie, we were no safer here than we were outside. So we might as well leave, and try our luck raiding.  But still, I always made sure to go with them, just in case.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Haven Chapter 13

            Chapter 13

            ‘What’s your name?’ I asked
            The girl turned her head away
            ‘How long have you been here?’
            Still she gave me no response
            ‘Are there any others here, or anyone who will be returning?’ I didn’t expect a response and I didn’t get one, but this time she looked straight at me with an icy glare. She couldn’t be older than 16, 15 maybe, and she was thin, most likely this place was the first source of food she had found for a few weeks. Part of me sympathised with her, but I knew I could let my guard down regardless of her age or condition. And after some arguing Nicole reluctantly bound her to the bed.

            I left the make shift room we had constructed and found Will, Nicole, Brooke, Daniel, and Connor waiting for me. ‘Did she say anything?’ Connor asked quietly, as if worried she was here
            ‘No,’ I answered trying to think
            ‘That’s not surprising considering she doesn’t have any reason to trust us,’ Nicole sighed, she’d obviously tried before
            ‘No it’s not like we took care of her and fed her even after she harmed one of our own,’ Brooke pitched in sarcastically
            I ignored her and turned to Nicole, ‘how is she doing?’
            ‘She had a pretty bad cut from some broken metal and, I think, a concussion. She’s lucky she didn’t lose too much blood there’s no way to replace it.’

            Brooke walked off shaking her head as the rest of us stood thinking, after a while I suddenly had an idea. ‘Connor, you should talk to her,’ I suggested a little too enthusiastically
‘Me?’ Connor pointed to himself confused, ‘why? I mean I’m happy to give it a try but interrogation isn’t my forte, neither are teenage girls for that matter’
‘Weren’t you a police officer?’ Will joked
‘Yeah, an officer not a detective’
‘No that’s what I mean,’ I interrupted, ‘as Nic said she has no reason to trust us, but you were a police officer, she’ll trust you’
            ‘I think you’re over estimating people’s trust in the police,’ Daniel pitched in, but after Connor shot him an annoyed look he raised his hands and walked off. ‘Alright,’ Connor conceded eventually, ‘I’ll show her my badge and do my best but don’t expect miracles.’

Connor went through to her room and Nicole left to check on Malcolm. When we were alone Will walked over, ‘Todd I want to apologise’-
‘No its me that should apologise,’ I stopped him, ‘I over-reacted and shouldn’t have flown off the handle like that’
‘But still,’ he put up a hand to stop me interrupting again, ‘I want you to know that if we’re ever in that position again, your gone and we’re left behind, you can trust me to take care of things here.’

I nodded, unsure of what to say as he walked off. In the beginning Will had been more grounded than me, I had refused a leadership role out of fear and Will had stepped up. So what had changed? Why was it that he was so fragile?

I knew the answer as soon as I had asked the question. We still didn’t know the full story of what happened at the hospital, with Caleb, with his mother. And I doubt we’ll ever know, I just have to help him find his stable ground again, or hope that he finds it himself.

            I had wondered over to the larger area of the warehouse were we had set up the food and was sitting with Jade when Connor came up to me. I raised my eyebrows in an unspoken question and he shook his head back. ‘She seemed to relax a bit more, but she still wouldn’t talk,’ he explained disappointed
            ‘It’s all right, it’s a step in the right direction at least,’ I tried to boost his spirits, no doubt his friend’s condition worried him and he would rather be helping him than questioning a prisoner.

            I noticed Lauren with a large amount of food a few metres away. ‘Hungry are you?’ I asked sarcastically
            She laughed back oddly, ‘no its for Chris, and our… guest too.’ I had forgotten she was helping out Nicole with taking care of the medical stuff. An idea began to form in my mind, ‘hey Lauren, wait.’

            I hid in Malcolm’s room, only a thin sheet of cloth separating this one and our guest’s. I heard Lauren enter, and set a tray down on a bench near the bed. ‘I know its not very nice,’ she said a bit loudly and I cringed, worried she would give us away, ‘but if you have any preference just speak up.’ I remembered high school drama class and reconsidered putting Lauren up to this task. But as Lauren prepared the food my doubts disappeared. ‘Anything’s fine,’ the girl spoke quickly.

            I moved to a gap between to sheets, and I could see the girl eyeing the food hungrily. I grinned, I thought that maybe if we didn’t just interrogate her she might actually open up, and it seems I was right. Lauren jumped slightly when the girl spoke, but quickly recomposed herself, ‘do you have any allergies?’ she recited one of the questions I gave her, the more we got her talking the more likely it was that she would keep talking. ‘Gluten, or’-
            ‘No its fine,’ she interrupted Lauren clearly eager to eat a proper meal, well, as proper as things get in these situations. ‘I’m Lauren by the way,’ Lauren spoke pleasantly, clearly happy she was succeeding, but she was only met with silence and an odd stare from the girl.

            She pulled at her bonds to draw attention to them, ‘I can’t eat with these on,’ she said carefully. But as Lauren picked up a spoon and prepared to spoon-feed her porridge she groaned and pulled away. Lauren gave her an odd motherly look and eventually the girl sighed and let Lauren feed her.

            Things were going quite well in my opinion, they were clearly building a rapport, sparse as it might be. What I didn’t count on was my cover being blown by the one person we didn’t inform of the plan. ‘Todd? What are you doing here?’ Malcolm groaned as he rolled over in bed. I saw the girl spin her head around at the sound, and as we made eye contact and knew our plan had failed, and the girl spat a mouthful of porridge at Lauren you quickly left the room.

            Nicole rushed into the room after hearing Malcolm wake up, smiling wide. I was pleased, probably more than I felt at the time, that Malcolm was okay, but it couldn’t have happened at a more inopportune moment, we her finally getting somewhere. I ran into Lauren and everyone else outside, ‘I’m sorry,’ she said shakily
            ‘You have nothing to be sorry for, you were doing great,’ I reassured her, ‘we were just unlucky is all. And lucky at the same time I guess, Malcolm’s awake’ everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Apart from Brooke and Monica who were keeping watch everyone had gathered around to see how things went.
            Nicole eventually came out of the room, still smiling thankfully. ‘Everything looks fine, as far as I can tell anyway,’ she explained, ‘but things could still go badly, just like last time’
            ‘But he’s got a better chance now right?’ Connor asked concerned
            ‘Oh yes,’ Nicole said almost laughing with relief.

            But our celebration was cut short as we had the clatter of metal hitting concrete from inside the girl’s room, then ripping fabric. We rushed in, somehow she had got a hold of a knife Lauren had taken in with her and gotten free. We followed her through the hole into the meal area. ‘Stay away from me!’ She yelled, waving the knife around wildly, but as Chris and Connor raised their guns she let out a sound like a sob and dropped the knife. I could see her desperation, and then somehow I knew, I knew she was not a threat to us.

            I made a gesture with my hand and the others lowered their weapons, but I didn’t stop Daniel and Jade from edging behind her and blocking any escape. ‘We don’t want to hurt you,’ I spoke softly and tried to reason with her
            ‘Is that why you tied me up?’ she asked, obviously afraid but still defiant, ‘interrogated me?’
            ‘We couldn’t trust you as much as you couldn’t trust us,’ as I spoke I realised what I had to do. I pulled my gun from my holster and she flinched, but slowly I put it on the floor, sliding it over with my foot. ‘Todd!’ Jade protested, but I silenced her with a nod
            ‘I’m giving you a choice, you can take this gun, some supplies, and leave. We won’t stop you,’ I knew I was taking a risk, but I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t try and help her. She picked up the gun, but didn’t point it anywhere, I took that as a sign to continue, ‘or, you can tell me your name, and you can stay here, with us.’

            There were several long minutes when everyone was tense. And we all jump when we heard the gun fall to the floor, as she softly spoke, ‘Emma, my name is Emma.’

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Haven Chapter 12

Chapter 12

            I could hardly believe we’d made it, but then another part of me never doubted that we would. All the familiar faces seemed like little miracles, I had been so concerned about the safety of the others I think I convinced myself I would never see them again. But as it turns out, my concerns were valid, and not everyone was alive and well.

            Malcolm had been injured, in an incident everyone had been shady about, Nicole said she would tell me about it later. Originally he hadn’t seemed badly injured, but the next day he collapsed, and he’d only woken up sporadically since. Nicole said he was lucky, we had used up most of the IV supplies on Chris, and there wouldn’t be enough to sustain another unconscious patient. But it had been a long time since he last woke up.

            ‘Will he wake up?’ I asked Nicole when we were alone in Malcolm’s room, well, the section separated from the rest of the area using shelves and cloths
            ‘There’s no way to tell,’ Nicole answered definitely, she was becoming far more confident in her clinical expertise, ‘I don’t know what damage has been done, he may have fractured his skull, or just have a bad concussion. All I can do is keep his head cushioned and do what I can to keep him stable, it’s up to his own body to fix what is wrong’
            I refused to believe it was up to chance, ‘but all those medicines from the hospital, can’t they help?’
            ‘Most of those were antibiotics, useless in this type of injury, and as I said I don’t know what is wrong, a medicine that might help one diagnosis might worsen his condition if I was wrong.’

            I knew she was right, I was learning to trust her opinions more and more, medical or non-medical. ‘How did this happen?’ I asked, although I’m not sure whether it was her I asked, or myself. Nicole turned me around and pointed at a spot on the wall where a section of ventilation was missing, ‘it fell right on top of him, Lauren and Brooke were there when it happened. We had just found something strange and Malcolm was coming to get them’
            ‘Something strange?’
            ‘Food scraps and empty containers, as well as a sleeping bag that according to Malcolm wasn’t there before, someone had been staying here before us, but after we ransacked it.’
            I tried to process this information as quick as I could, someone else here? Was it that Anthony guy? The leader of the marauders? ‘Were they still here?’ I asked, worried we’d be thrown back into jeopardy just as we thought we were safe
            Nicole nodded grimly and I was filled with dread, ‘they were hiding in the ventilation when it fell.’ She walked over to one of the “walls” and pulled back the cloth, through the shelves I could see another bed, but the patient on this one was a young girl.

            Jade, Connor, Daniel, and Chris were being updated by Will and Lauren when I came over and sat down next to them. ‘Did you were about this?’ Jade asked shocked, the others were all wearing similar expressions
            ‘Nicole just filled me in,’ I reply exhausted, not for the first time I wished I hadn’t stepped forward to be the leader
            ‘Did you speak to our new guest?’ Connor asked, more than slightly concerned over the issues she could bring with her
            ‘Not yet she was resting, Nicole said she’d find me,’ I took and deep breath before speaking again, trying to sort my thoughts before getting any new information, ‘how’s everything else been going here?’
            ‘Well,’ Will started a bit shamefully, ‘Brooke and Nicole got themselves sorted but to be honest the rest of us…’
            ‘We were too worried about you to really start doing anything,’ Lauren finished for him.
            A flash of unreasonable anger came over me, ‘oh great so while we’ve been out struggling to survive, risking our lives to get back here you’ve just been laying around sitting on your asses!’
            ‘Hey!’ Chris stood up angrily but Daniel stood in front and held him back

            ‘It’s not like that Todd,’ Will said quietly, ‘we got to the station and organised ourselves, it felt like we had our lives back, we could look to the future and see something real. Even when we were separated from you we still felt like we had some hope. But then Malcolm collapsed and it just felt like everything was going wrong, and there was nothing we could do,’ his voice broke as we spoke, and everyone was silent, ‘it was like I was on the rooftop again, losing a friend, and it was all my fault. I couldn’t imagine doing anything, I was too afraid of losing someone else.’

            I wanted to say something, I wanted to comfort my friend, but part of me was angry, I don’t know why, and another part of me was so affected by his words I couldn’t find any of my own, so I just walked away. I saw Daniel, Lauren, and Chris walk off the other way, and Jade followed me but I didn’t really want her to. Only Connor stayed but I doubted he could help Will much.

            I walked outside to Brooke’s empty shooting range, grateful for the privacy. Angrily I picked up one of the paintball guns and quickly fired a few shots, and missed the target each time. ‘Damn it!’ I swore, I didn’t know why I was so angry, was it because I was genuinely upset with Will and the others? No. To be honest I couldn’t blame them, I had been in the same position just a few days ago, on the verge of giving up, but I knew the others had made it out of the station alive. As I looked out on the horizon I could see some smoke from the still smouldering wreckage of the station, fire from the explosion must have set the building ablaze, god knows what they must have thought when they saw that.

            I wasn’t angry anymore, just sad, but unlike before I didn’t feel depressed, or like giving up. I felt like changing things for the better. I never wanted to hear something like that again, I would make sure of that.

            ‘So have you calmed down now?’ I turned around and saw Jade walking towards me, she must have waited inside a while before following me, smart move. ‘Yeah,’ I smiled bitterly
            ‘Good, ‘cause you were out of line there,’ She leant against the wall Brooke had made
            ‘I know, I don’t know why I said that’
            ‘I do,’ I turned sharply to her as she spoke, ‘you were scared, scared of not making it here, scared of what you would find, and when you did get her you find we almost lost another friend. You weren’t angry at Will, or Lauren, or even at yourself, you were just… scared’
            ‘Even before all this you knew how I was feeling before I did,’ I laughed
            ‘That’s not that hard seeing how slow you are about it,’ she moved closer as she spoke.

            We stood there silently for a moment, enjoying being together, safe, again. ‘I’m sorry we haven’t been talking that much recently Jade,’ I apologised, looking in her eyes as she looked at the ground, ‘or spending much time together at all’-
            ‘It’s okay Todd, I can hardly blame you for not being the perfect boyfriend while also leading a group of apocalypse survivors,’ she laughed
            ‘But still, I want that to change, maybe the reason why things at the station went to hell, and why I came so close to giving up is because I didn’t have you to clear my head, and tell me how I was feeling’
            ‘Well I guess that’ll have to change,’ she spoke quietly as she leaned in close.

            ‘Todd!’ I cursed under my breath as Nicole burst through the door, ‘She’s awake!’

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Haven Chapter 11

Chapter 11

            ‘So what do we tell them when they get here?’
            ‘Who says they’ll make it here?’
            ‘Don’t talk like that! We have to believe they’ll come back to us, I have to believe that…’ Lauren’s voice trailed off as uncertainty took hold. What if Andria was right? It had been two days since they had left the police station, and there was still no sign of Chris or the others.

            Some of the others, like Lauren, still held on to the hope that they survived. Others, like Andria, thought they were in denial, and with their hope for their friends’ survival there energy seemed to have gone too. Almost everyone wondered around the warehouse, they couldn’t think of anything to do. On the first day Lauren and a few others had wanted to go and look for them, but when they did they saw smoke coming from the station. That meant either they didn’t make it out in time, or they escaped, and there was no way they would find them without make the situation worse.

            A few people though, Nicole, Monica, and Brooke among them, coped by keeping themselves busy. Nicole had two new patients to tend to, and got herself set up in one corner of the warehouse. Brooke started keeping watch day and night, all by herself. Nobody was getting much sleep anyway. She and Monica had also set up a shooting range outside, using some paintball equipment they had found inside, but they were the only ones who used it.

            Will and Andria had originally tried to boost moral by cooking some of the last non-dehydrated food they had and make the warehouse feel more comfortable. But after Malcolm’s condition worsened Andria didn’t have the strength to try, and without her support Will quickly fell into the same state of melancholy as the rest of them.

            And now, as the sun set on their third day at the warehouse Daniel and Lauren sat by the window, barely touching their food, lost in their thoughts. Were they ever going to see their friends again? And if they didn’t how long would it be until their new home was no longer safe, and once again they would have to run, and risk losing even more friends.

            The nights were difficult in the warehouse, the thin metal walls did little to keep out the cold and it was almost June. With the generator either lost or destroyed they couldn’t power the heaters, and the blankets they had brought along were hardly abundant. It was these times that Lauren missed Chris the most, she missed cuddling close at night, sharing each other’s warmth and love. She wondered whether she would ever feel truly safe and warm again.

            Apart from the sound of the wind blowing against the walls the warehouse was silent. Scattered throughout it the group slept, or at least tried to. And high above them on the rooftop Brooke sat, huddled in the thickest blanket they had and watched. For two nights things were quiet, if it wasn’t for the smoking of the burning police station and the knowledge of the dead wandering around Brooke might even say it was beautiful.
            Tonight however, things would be different.

            I couldn’t give up, I would never give up. There was too much to live for, Lauren, Will, all of my friends were counting on me. We caught our breath in regular stops, but slowly we walked, quietly, careful not to attract any attention. Our radios had been damaged in the escape, we couldn’t communicate to the others or even let them know we were alive. For the two nights we had to make it through alone we stayed in the most intact house we could find, and ate what little food remained that we could trust to be healthy.

            On the third night however, we didn’t stop moving, we were so close now, so close to everything we were fighting for: our friends, our loved ones, and the hope for a new home.

            I stopped our group a few kilometres short of the warehouse, seeing the huddled figure on top. I had no doubt it was Brooke, or maybe Monica, with a rifle aimed right at us. I breathed a sigh of relief, they had made it, all through this trip I worried that the others hadn’t made it too the warehouse, or worse that when they got there it was already inhabited, either by the dead or by the marauders. Without a way to show it was us in this darkness there was no way we were getting inside until sunrise. But there was no way to know if it really was one of us in there, but I had to believe that, I just had to prove it was me. Luckily I had thought of this, and grabbed the last working flashlight we had on us.

            Brooke aimed the rifle carefully, using the scope to get a good aim, even though in this low light it was hard to tell. She carefully, without taking her eyes off the unknown figures, took out a pair of scissors and cut the string next to her.
            Inside a group of empty cans strung together fell to the floor with a loud clang, and everyone jolting awake, hose that were asleep anyway. Quickly they all gathered in the office room and armed themselves the best they could.
            ‘Brooke come in,’ Andria spoke over the radio, ‘is it the dead Brooke? Are we evacuating?’
            ‘It’s not the dead,’ she answered, her voice crackled through the radio, ‘at least I don’t think it is’
            Lauren grabbed the radio off Andria, ‘is it them? Is it Chris is he alright?’ She fired off question quickly. Andrial thought to snatch the radio back off her but thought the better of it as he saw how tightly she clung to it.

            ‘I don’t- hang on,’ Brooke stopped talking as she tried to make out the object that was being lit up in the distance, after a while it started to move forward, and eventually she got her answer and her heart jumped in her chest as she recognised the license plate from Connor’s car.