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Monday, 25 April 2011


We rest that night in a hotel that stands alongside the road. The rooms themselves are all mildewed and stinking, and so we make a bed on the floor of the office out of what dry blankets and covers we can find. A quick search of the kitchens yields some industrial-sized cans of fruit and tins of vegetables, which make a decent meal. A while before dark falls we wrap ourselves in blankets against the cold and settle down for the night.

Exhausted from walking, Lisa drops quickly off to sleep. I find myself once again lying awake, staring at the ceiling, waiting and hoping that sleep will come. For long hours it does not, and as the darkness deepens and I hear the first few Creature calls in the night outside, the doubts begin to emerge.

I picture us arriving at Holme, wandering through the empty streets of an island village. We look through windows, call into the silence. There's nothing, nobody. And then we crest a hill and there below us is a massive crater, pulsating with hideous life.

I picture us still on the road one day soon when Lisa grabs my hand, bending double, her face turning to mine. The baby's coming, she mouths, and then there's blood on the ground and she is screaming and...

And as ever it turns back to the crazy I shot. And to Sharon, somehow. They're standing there, both of them. Sharon's body is horribly broken, flesh tattered, limbs splayed, blood dripping. The crazy has a bullet hole in his neck, still weeping blood. They're looking at me. They're at the head of a crowd of a thousand men and women, an army of the dead, and they're watching everything I do. You have to do the right thing, says Sharon. The crazy opens his mouth to speak, but all that comes out is a wild, yammering noise.

And then I'm back hiding underneath the car, gun in hand, listening to the footsteps approach. Only this time when I crawl out the crazy is quicker, and it's me who is hit by a bullet. Me who falls. My body that lies lifeless of the weed-strewn concrete.

I don't realise that I've been dreaming until I come awake. I come awake because there's a hand over my mouth, and another on my shoulder, pushing me down. Panic floods me, ice cold, and I start to struggle, but stop a moment later when I hear Lisa's voice.

"David, stop, it's me," she whispers, her mouth so close to my ear that I feel her breath. She sounds terrified. "You were talking in your sleep. You were..."

But she stops mid-sentence, and in the same moment I realise why she sounds so scared. From the other side of the office door comes a sound I know only too well: the hissing, croaking bellow of a Creature on the hunt.