The cold air that fills my lungs is one of my worries. Winter is closing in, and it won't be too long before we're facing snow and ice. We'll have to rely on the fireplace to keep the house warm, but even after days spent collecting firewood I don't know for sure if we'll have enough. And winter will mean the end of the vegetable garden, maybe even of the chickens as well. We've eaten through most of what's in the pantry, and soon enough I know I'll have to make a trip to one of the nearby towns to scavenge. That task is daunting enough, but it's made worse by the fact that, after almost a month without hearing a single Creature calling in the night, I've heard at least a dozen in the last week alone. The sound of their cries is distant, but disturbing all the same. I imagine that prey in the cities must now be becoming scarce, forcing them to go further afield to hunt. How long before they come hunting here, David? How long before you wake in the night to the sound of one howling on the doorstep?
And on top of everything there is the baby. Not just two of us to worry about anymore, but three. Another life, so fragile and tiny that I can barely bring myself to think of it existing in the same world as the Creatures.
Thoughts chase each other around my brain, settling like butterflies that take to the air every time I try to get close to them. Outside the window, the world begins to lighten, and I find that I can see all the way to the trees and the grave me and Lisa dug two months ago. As often happens, I find my thoughts turning to Sharon.
It feels like so long ago now...
I wonder if she would be proud of me. It's an odd thought, but Sharon always knew the right thing to do. Would she be pleased that I'm here to look after Lisa? Or would she be angry--my guts twist with a weird, confused kind of guilt--would she be furious to see me and Lisa sleeping beside each other like lovers? Should I still be grieving? Should I have given up, let myself get taken by the Creatures so that I could die and be with her?
I shake my head, clear the morbid thoughts away. Sharon's gone. You loved her, and you were going to marry her, but that was in a past life. That world is finished. You've got to live in the world as it is. However cold or frightening or dangerous it may be.
I stand up and stretch stiff muscles, and then go back through to the lounge where Lisa is sleeping. I sit down quietly beside her and wait for her to wake.