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Friday, 14 January 2011


As I expected, the night is endless. It's too cold to sleep properly, but I manage to fall into a sort of bleary semi-doze. I jerk awake at every tiny noise: the creaks of the old building settling in the cold, the calls of the Creatures, once to a distant scream that sends knives through my innards.

Even when I manage to drift off for an hour or two I'm haunted by dreams. I see Sharon again, only now her face is a blur. She's screaming and crying as the Creatures drag her away from me. I wake just as she disappears into the smoke. Shivering, I crawl into the corner of the office and huddle down under my coat. The cold is in my bones. I hear the croaking, hissing call of a Creature somewhere distant. I shut my eyes and wait for sleep to come.

When next I wake it's pitch black, the middle of the night. I think I can hear something moving somewhere below me in the building. Footsteps? Or is that the thump and drag of claws? Either way I don't dare to move. I strain my ears but I can't hear anything, and I'm so tired and so cold. I doze once more and in my dreams I hear crying. Someone sobbing in another room. Sharon? I get up and try to find the door, but it's too dark to see.

I wake up again. It's morning. Weak, greyish daylight is filtering in through the tiny window of the office; it's drizzling outside. For a moment, confusion sweeps through me. Where am I? What's happened to my room, my house? Where's Sharon? Why can't I hear any traffic? And then the memories come crashing in and I know I should be relieved, I should be grateful to still be alive when so many are dead, but I'm not. And there's the gun, and before I know it I'm holding it. I'm holding so tight my fingers hurt. The black and heavy thing. My way home...

And at that moment I realise I can hear something. I can hear someone crying. Close by. Below me somewhere, in one of the downstairs rooms. I guess that bit wasn't a dream after all.

I stand up. The movement sends pain shooting through all my limbs. I'm stiff and numb all over from a night spent on a hard floor, in the bone-deep cold. I stretch, try to work some of the pain and cold away. I drink some water from my supplies, and my stomach gurgles with empty hunger. I open a second tin of peaches and eat greedily, quickly. Then, feeling stronger, I move to the door and haul the filing cabinet away.

As it crashes loudly to the floor the crying ceases. I grip the gun, open the door, and walk as quietly as I can to the top of the stairs.

"Hello?" I call down, my voice croaking with lack of use. There's no response. Slowly, with infinite caution, heart hammering, I start to make my way downstairs.

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