As we talk I've been moving in a slow circle around Sven, keeping a lookout in every direction. But now I stop. It's quiet out here in this little village. I can hear birds singing. I wonder if they know or care about what's happening to the human world around them.
"So it's over then?" I say. I'm not sure how I feel: maybe angry, maybe just scared. I only know that it's a bad feeling, like knowing that you're going to vomit. "They keep on feeding, keep on getting stronger, keep on hunting until there's nobody left alive. Is that it?"
"No," says Sven forcefully. "No, that's not it."
"What then?" I say. As irrational as it might be it's hard not to blame Sven for the way I feel. He is, after all, a stranger. How do you know you can trust him, David? He's probably lying to you. Probably a wandering madman who just likes toying with whoever he meets.
"There's also Home." That's what it sounds like he says, anyway.
"Holme," he enunciates more clearly. "Holme is what we call the place we live. It's an island not far off the coast. There's about a hundred of us there at last count, and not a single Feeder in sight. A regular human haven."
Even as my heart leaps at his words, the voice in my head is warning me: don't get your hopes up, David. You don't know who you can trust. Twenty minutes ago you were ready to point a gun at this man.
"Sounds great," I say, keeping my voice pleasant and level. "So what are you doing all the way out here? And on your own?"
Sven grins. "I'm a volunteer. One of six. We all left Holme together a month ago, and if all goes well we'll all return there together in about eight weeks. We're travelling different routes across the country, through what were once the big population centres. We're recruiting. Finding other survivors. Holme's an out-of-the-way kind of place. Sure, we've had a survivor turn up there just on chance, but only once. We've got the space and the food for at least another hundred, and we want to use it."
I can't pretend that this isn't something that I've dreamed about, hoped for all along. A place. A safe place to go. If what Sven is saying is true then it's better than I could have hoped.
But how can you know if he really is telling the truth, or if it's just some kind of scam, a trap?