Chapter Seventy Four

We were here because of him. Logan hadn’t caused the world to end, but he’d got us this far. He’d saved our necks, with a little help from Andrew, but it was Logan who’d been strong, had led us to this cottage, had done all he could. Still, it wasn’t enough. It was Logan who couldn’t protect Natty, couldn’t save her from this fate. He’d tried so very hard, but I couldn’t forgive his every decision. Many differences could have saved her life, could have meant another outcome. My life for hers, or maybe someone else. He’d tested his own to save me, to save Connor, had reached out from safety to get us in, but why couldn’t he have done the same for Nat. Was it because she had what he wanted?

He’d killed so many of those things, shot them dead with guns, smashed their faces in with blunt objects, but he grew distracted, had lost his edge. The new woman could never join our group, wouldn’t fit, even if there was a group left, even if so many weren’t dead. She hadn’t been through what we had, couldn’t understand the pain of watching so many friends die. I realise this now as my tears dry, as my throat heals from the roar emotion I couldn’t keep in, as I keep my dearest warm me even though she doesn’t know I’m here.

He said nothing as he manoeuvred her like an object as he directed the transfer up to the bedroom. He wanted to stay, wanted to appease his guilt, but I wouldn’t let him spoil my last hours with her. If he had his way, he’d end it now. Would be easiest for all involved, right? No. Not right. Nat was a person, my friend, my lover. She would go, but I would be the one to say when, to do what had to be done, but only when she was no longer there. No one would take that away from me. Not him.

He came back, checked so many times, had a pretence for each visit, but I knew his game and I wasn’t having any of it, even left the dog to watch. What was it going to do when the time came?

I heard their talk, his not so quiet voice. It wouldn’t surprise me if those two didn’t sneak away and fuck somewhere in a corner. Maybe once they had he’d be more like the Logan that had been my friend. But would I stand for it? No. That door’s staying closed. Get the fuck out you black little shit. And you too. You call yourself a friend.

I woke and it was still light outside, the skin on my face tight. I knew why and didn’t care, all I wanted to know was had it happened, was she still with me? She was, for now. Nothing came back as I kissed her lips, but there was still warmth, some warmth. I startled at a knock at the door and was about to launch abuse when I saw Andrew, his hand clutching at this side, his face open, projecting towards me. My resistance crumbled. I nodded as he pointed to the bed, keeping silent as he sat at the end of the cover looking over to Nat, water welling in his eyes. I nodded and he turned my way.

“I’ll watch her if you want to clean up,” he said.

“Where is he?” I said. “Logan,” I added as Andrew raised his eyebrows.

“He’s gone to see if he can find food, just up the road,” he replied.

“Alone?”

“Cassie’s gone with him.”

I couldn’t help but scoff, but good old adorable Andrew didn’t notice.

I took up his offer, looking back with each step until I was out with the world still baring down on my shoulders. The house was quiet as I scrubbed at my face. It was her blood, but I couldn’t live with it on me. I wandered if he could? I stared at my clean skin, saw Nat behind me in the bath, heard her laughter breaking up her song and leant heavy against the sink to stop myself crumbling to the floor.

A call went out, voices across the house and she vanished. Footsteps running, disturbing the dry floorboards. With a deep lungful of air, I straightened up, opening the door to see Andrew stood wide eyed, peering down the landing. He looked up and spoke.

“The boy’s gone.”

 

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Reading out of sequence? Why? Here’s Chapter One

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