The sky has turned dark with frightening speed, and visibility has dropped. I can't see my tower block, and--with everything coated in grey dust--everywhere I turn looks the same. I think, judging from the few buildings I can see still standing, I might have wandered into the suburbs, but everything is such a mess it's impossible to tell. I hurry on, moving as fast as I can through the mud and wreckage.
I pass a crater, and glance fearfully across to its opposite edge where six or seven Creatures stand immobile. How much longer do I have before they come to life and start to hunt? The sky is already heavy with cloud, and it's getting to the point where it's difficult to see.
That's it, I decide, there's no way I'm getting back home tonight. I'll have to find somewhere to hide out for the night, then make my way back in the morning.
I try the next house I come to, but half of it has collapsed and the rooms are wide open. There's no way I'd be able to make it secure. Four streets further on I try the door of another house, only to hear an angry shout and a heavy scuffling from within. Evidently, it's already taken. I back away from the door, turn and run.
From the suburbs I find my way out onto a wide road, lined with rows of trees. Most of these trees have now toppled and lie on the ground or on top of cars, their dead branches tangled together. It's a maze, which I run through as fast as I can. Branches scratch at my arms and face. I skin my knee climbing over a fallen trunk, and I almost drop the bags of food and water I worked so hard to get.
On the other side of the road are a series of large, old buildings. The first few in the row have fallen, or partially fallen, but the rest are largely intact. I pick one at random--some place that looks as though it might once have been a doctor's office--haul the front door open and step inside. It's dark in there, and I stumble down a narrow hallway until I find myself at the foot of a set of stairs. Looking up, I can see at least three or four landings above me.
I head up to the highest floor. For no real reason, being way up off the ground makes me feel a little safer. There I find a series of small offices. I pick the one at the end of the hall, slam shut the door and shove the filing cabinet against it. At last, exhausted from adrenaline, I slump down against the wall.
I feel slightly sick. Maybe it's from eating too quickly after so long without food. Or maybe it's just fear. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't have let myself get lost. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I should have planned, should have thought ahead. And now I might very well die for a couple of shopping bags full of food.
But now it's done, and it can't be undone. Straining my ears against the silence, I wait to hear the first calls of the Creatures as they start to hunt. I'm holding the gun in my lap, and through great force of will I make myself put it down on the floor beside me. Then I pull off my coat and drape it over my body. It's going to be a long, cold, uncomfortable night. I just hope I live to see the dawn.