Jacob sits by the small fire, its not that cold and probably not a great idea, but he guesses it’s always been mans nature to light a fire, to ward of the darkness and the monsters. Common sense tells him it wont scare these monsters but attract them. He almost laughs out loud, common fucking sense, seems like a long forgotten concept already. Sitting in the shelter of a pile of rusty cars in a scrap yard, his new “home” and place of relative safety for the last few days most things feel like long forgotten concepts.
Hands shacking he fails to roll a third cigarette and watches it scatter across the ground. Close to tears now he screws up his eyes and reaches for the bottle of whiskey next to him. Two big burning, numbing swigs later and eyes spring open, trying to wake from this nightmare.
Standing before him is a man with the usual mixture of bewilderment, fatigue and terror etched on his face. He holds out a blood and dirt encrusted hand, which Jacob notices with disgust is a lot steadier than his.
“ Um hello, Brian um Peterson”
Jacob cant take his hand not with his the way they are so he just nods.
Brian takes this as permission to sit down, which it was not but Jacob just shrugs mentally. Here we go again he thinks.
“I just got in and well people said you, you were a good person to talk to”
He pauses now, but Jacob waits this is usual just before the flood gates open which they invariably do’
“When it happened oh god I did things, oh Jesus the things I have done”
He stops talking then and just sobs, heart wrenching anguished tears of pain.
Looking at his blood stained hands he continues “ My wife…I came home from work, and my wife she, she, dead she was dead, and my Daughter my little girl was… her own Mum. Eating oh god fucking eating her”
Nothing that follows is new to Jacob, how his Daughter had tried to eat his fingers when he had carried her to his car. His only thought that she was ill, to get her to a Hospital. But just could not get her into his car or to understand that she was ill and needed help.
He could not bring himself to kill her, but had thrown her across the road. And ran, ran from her only to watch as a car came screeching along the road and smashed her flying into the air. Body broken still she attempted to drag herself along on bent broken fingers.
The chaos of the city, its streets filled with terror, running from one place of safety to another, only to watch it overrun by the ever growing seemingly unstoppable hoards of the dead.
Police and then the Army hopelessly outnumbered, the enemy growing larger by the hour until they had all been swept away.
Until he had seen the lights in the scrap yard and with three others entered its relative safety.
Jacob just listens, nodding occasionally and at times resting his hand on Brian’s shoulder.
“What now?” Brian asks him “What now? Where should I go? What should I do?. Tell me just tell me!” he pleads.
Jacob snaps, something inside collapses, for the last two days he has sat here with a seemingly endless stream of survivors like Brian, vomiting their pain and terror on him, as if he was a giant sponge for others misery.
And not once has any of these bastards asked him, asked him about his pain how he got here, what he had done.
“Why the fuck are you asking me” he snarls at a confused Brian
“Ask our so called leader. Who told you to talk to me eh? Who? Well you go back to them and tell em to just stop it! Go on fuck off! Talk to someone who gives a shit”
Brian almost falls over in his haste to get back from this explosion of words and emotions. He stops and opens his mouth , begins to say something, looks at Jacobs still enraged face then half runs away.
The anger courses through Jacobs body , he wants to scream to the sky, to climb the eight foot fence and launch himself into the arms of the waiting ever hungry dead.
But the rage is just a brief spark and soon dies, he manages to make a couple of cigarettes with hands briefly steadier thanks to his anger, before it fades quickly away. Replaced with a cloak of guilt that settles on his shoulders.
He half heartedly looks to see if he can see Brian, but soon gives up and instead reaches for the whisky bottle with a hand shaking once more.
Brian heads of to the centre of the scrap yard to see if he can find a leader or even if one exists. He passes groups of people huddled together for warmth and comfort, barely any of them even glancing up at his direction.
Feeling increasingly weary and alone, still stung by Jacob’s barbed words, cut deep by not only the way they were delivered, but by the truth within them. Wandering around the seemingly never ending maze of junk cars and metal he all but gives up, when he comes across would could roughly be called the centre.
Here he finds the largest fire and around it the biggest group of people, sitting almost at the “feet” of a man sprawled in an armchair. Flanked either side by two men Brian guesses are some sort of bodyguards. They both sport the mandatory “bouncer” look; shaved heads, large knuckles and foreheads and ill fitting suits possibly two sizes to small.
The “leader” reaches out a hand to one who gently places a can of super strength lager. Brian cant help but notice a large collection of empty tins on the floor. “Oh shit” Brian thinks “Not exactly what I was hoping” he mutters under his breath.
One of the bodyguards has noticed Brian standing on the periphery of the fire staring and naturally pulls his stomach in and shoulders back glaring at the potential threat of a middle aged slightly overweight man.
Fearing further trouble Brian now almost in tears with disappointment and anger reluctantly steps forward.
He raises a hand in a half hearted greeting, incredibly self conscious he really does not know what to say. The leader the people around no one has a clue he realises that now. But before he can ask any of the questions which seemed so important not that long ago, but could have been a lifetime ago the leader introduces himself with a voice slightly slurred.
“Good evening I assume you are one of the new additions to our merry band?”
Without waiting for an answer he continues.
“I appear to have been nominated as some sort of group leader. My name is Hugo, my associates and I were shall we say no strangers to violence before these sad times. And therefore these lost souls seem to have taken shelter under our violent wings”
He gives Brian an amused look “Any questions?”
Plenty thinks Brian the main one being how do I get out of this shit hole.
“Not really he replies”
Sensing any other reply would be pointless.
And so with a nod from Hugo and stares of indifferent hatred from his associates he is dismissed.
Switch to our mobile site