“Get the camera out,” I said, turning to Ryan. He pushed the brake pedal and we rocked to a stop, staring back open-mouthed. “We’ve got to film this, we’ve got to let people know. This is how we can help, this is how we can make a difference.” He looked on, staring wide eyed, his only reaction was to turn away, wiping his mouth with his right hand, taking a hard swallow.
“This is worse than we could have imagined,” he said. “I thought back there, I thought it could be the end of this. I thought it was over.”
“So did I,” I said, sliding along the seats, twisting toward him and placing my left hand on his shoulder, sucking back the pain as I shuffled. “There’s no dressing it up. This couldn’t be worse, it could be the end of the country, the end of the world, but we could give people a change if they can prepare, but they have to know what’s going on first. We could have a chance if those responsible were stopped from doing whatever it was they were trying to do.” If only I could live through the night without killing you, I didn’t say. He looked to my hand as it drifted down his arm. I pulled away, watching his brow lower. “We need to tell the world,” I said, ashamed of the pleading in my tone. “We need to find her and tell everyone what she’s done.”
He didn’t reply straight away, his eyes turning back to the road, fixing on the child’s body laying alone, then up to the creature passing between the blocks, its white eyes fixed square on our windscreen.
Ryan nodded, not turning to meet me.
“But not here. We need to keep safe, need to find somewhere to rest, get out of these wet clothes, find food and figure out how these fucking cameras of yours work.”
I looked out through the windscreen. He was right. There would be plenty of time to get some decent footage. I didn’t complain as the wheels rolled, instead forced myself to look at the child, to take in her pale cold face. Forcing the sight to my memory so I could describe her in great detail when I got on the air.
We varied our journey many times to avoid roadblocks found at almost every turn and the congregating dead walking along the line of hemmed-in cars, watching the number in the corner of the Sat Nav rise and fall, the sun sinking in the sky with each passing moment. Whilst in the back of my head a thought I couldn’t put my finger on nagged heavy and despite all my efforts I couldn’t pinpoint its source. After two hours we’d cleared ten miles, when we should have been in the hospital carpark setting up the camera, instead we were watching from so far away as the sun touched the horizon.
When eventually we came across a lone cottage on the side of the road, we both agreed without words we should stop and do the things we knew we should, but both soon decided without conversation this wasn’t the place when we saw the long line of blood covering the path leading up to the front door.
Darkness had fallen not long after, leaving only our headlights, the stars and the moon half bright in the sky. Ryan drove slowly knowing we had no spare tyre, the road so often littered with debris and cars abandoned at the side, pushed at rough angles down ditches and into hedges to clear a path. With little other choice, he pulled the van into the car park of a wide single storey white building, the headlights bright on it sign across the front, giving more than a flutter of optimism at the words ‘Cash and Carry’ in yellow on the dark board.
We drove around the perimeter slowly, turning the wheels to shine the headlights across every surface. The shutters at the front were down, but two wooden rear doors looked like they wouldn’t present Ryan with much of a challenge, if he was any good. Parking around the back to the nearest side door, Ryan emptied his pockets, searching for what, he didn’t say, but placed a brown leather wallet on the seat between us, a frown drawing on his face as in his left hand he pulled a thin metal screwdriver and the handcuffs I’d told him to bring along.
The realisation sparked through my head as I saw the metal bracelets. It had the medicine nagging my thoughts and I stood, my rise pulling at every aching nerve in my hand. I pushed between the seats into the back of the van, jabbing the light switch above my head and saw the vile, or what was left, the red liquid soaked into the carpet, drying around the broken glass edges and knew this would be my last night on earth.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.