Something has happened. Something very very good has happened. I scouted a village about six
hours from camp and found a truck! It’s a military vehicle, painted green and converted for
transporting troops. Almost a full tank and in good condition. This is going to change everything.
Back at camp. I must be happy. As I drove the truck here I was whistling a song by that band
Cake. Can’t remember the name of it, goes “no trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine,
he's haunted by something he cannot define” I haven’t thought about that song for years. Hannah
used to have all their albums. I’d forgotten this but I got so mad when I found out she’d snuck her
ipod out when we had to leave home. She said music was a necessity. I was too busy
maneuvering around wrecks and Zs on the freeway to argue.
I’ve celebrated with the last can of beans. An extravagant feast, but it’s the first bit of luck I’ve had
for a good while. I can widen the search for loot now and it’s just in time; every place around here
has been picked clean and it’s been getting colder. I can haul more stuff back here too.
Disaster. Bloody stupid idiot I don’t know what to do. The truck’s gone. I’d hidden it in the gully
over the ridge from camp and when I went to collect it this morning it wasn’t there. It’s gone. It’s
bloody gone. i don’t know what to do.
OK, I’m packing light and there’s just enough light left to get moving. The truck left tracks. They
lead to the road and unless the bastard doubled back it looks like he’s heading south. Maybe he’s
stopping along the way to loot places, maybe he’ll be cocky enough to linger so I can catch up to
him. Maybe I can get the truck back. It’s a better option than waiting around here to die.
Holed up in the loft of a barn. No sign of anything, just the odd farm building slowly falling apart
and Zs shuffling around outside like moronic puppets. And God! do they smell! I still remember
Hannah, face flushed and forcing the words out between each breath, describing the odor being
like a mix of rancid apricots and burnt plastic. The cities are full of it. It’s probably half the reason
we decided on heading for the hills when we ran out of fuel. I thought It was the best option we
had, back then the Zs were city bound.
Hope I find some food tomorrow.
The moon’s up. It’s a full one too; everything looks moonbaked. Can you say “moonbaked”?
Does that even work? What I mean is all the trees look silver in the moonlight and the shadows
are like daggers on the grass.
Started walking since dawn, figure it was mid afternoon when I saw the tracks leading off the
road into the trees. I don’t think I really registered it. I’d been running on Mountain Dew for two
days, so getting excited would’ve cost more energy than I had to spare.
The tires had bit deep into the soil. He’d weaved in and out of the trees, scraping paint at a few
points. I figure he was trying to hide it, instead he’d mixed up a true dogs breakfast. Eventually
he’d get stuck and then I’d be on him.
That was exactly what happened. I’d started stumbling over roots and stuff, so I nearly fell into
the clearing he’d got bogged down in. His shirt and trousers looked brand new, too new to be
worn by someone who’d spent the last three months pulling himself through the hills like I had.
Through the trees I could see him walking around the idling truck, exhaling every now and then
as if someone had keyed his Audi. I fucking hated him even worse now.
The heart was pumping hard. I used to stay away from other survivors, this was the closest I had
ever been. I raised my Lee Enfield and fired. I missed him, of course. Hannah was right when
she said I always waste the first shot. At least he got a proper fright. Must have jumped a meter
or two in the air. I almost laughed, but he was into the truck and had thrown it into reverse. He
must have planted his foot through the floor of the cab, because the truck roared like a trapped
elephant and, surprisingly it moved free of its muddy shackles.
Forced to act, I got mechanical. That’s the only way I can explain it. Calm as anything to took aim
at the cab window turning my way and let free two rounds. The window shattered and the roaring
subsided as the truck shuddered to a halt.
I’d got him. That’s all I could think, I’d bloody got him. If I was mechanical before, I was almost
floating like a butterfly now. That’s what it felt like when I walked over to the truck and opened the
truck door. The idiot fell out onto the grass smearing blood everywhere. My heart hadn’t got the
message to stop pounding in my ears though. I felt as if every nerve ending was exposed.
Exposed. I was exposed. If he had friends ... scanning the treeline I started moving around the
front of the truck.
It happened so fast I don’t know if I heard the gun go off or not. A bit of my stomach was pushed
out in front of me like a water balloon filled with offal and mince. When that happens your body
doesn’t give you any option: you go down. And if you’re lucky you might get to see who did you in.
I was fortunate because the bastard flipped me over onto my back. It was the Audi prick. He had
a G17 in one hand and the other holding his shoulder, blood oozing through his fingers. He
looked down at me like a man noticing his dog had left a shit in his carport just before he was
about to leave for dinner with friends. The dark crawled around the edge of my eyes and he said
I’ve passed out a couple of times, but I’ve crawled here to the edge of the clearing and propped
myself up against this tree. The Audi prick took off, not wanting to waste a second bullet. He took
all my stuff, of course, apart from this journal which he dismissed with a grunt. I guess i should
thank him for that. I don’t have much time, but it’s enough to write this down and maybe give
anyone reading this a chance to make it.
The forest appears frozen by the moonlight; but that’s a lie. Everything is changing now, often so
quietly you don’t realise until it’s too late. Her hand gripping mine and eyes wild with fear, Hannah
tried to tell me that. Some of us weren’t made for this world. The hard lessons don’t go the
distance and after two chances you don’t get a third.
I started whistling again to chase away the cold, but I don’t think it’s working. “the sun has gone
down and the moon has come up, and long ago somebody left with the cup. but he's striving and
driving and hugging the turns and thinking of someone for whom he still burns.”
I’m going to stop writing now. The wind has picked up and swung due north. There’s the smell of
burnt plastic on the air.