Authors: Lisa Richardson
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
Blog of the Dead - Lost
Also by Lisa Richardson
Blog of the Dead – Sophie
Blog of the Dead – Life
Blog of the Dead – Lost
Copyright © Lisa Richardson 2015
Cover design by Rick Jones
Cover photography by Sarah Bray Photography
Thank you to my wonderful beta readers Flick Merauld and Michele Brailsford for all your advice and feedback.
Special thanks as always to the very talented Rick Jones for the amazing cover design. Much love and admiration!
December 28, 5.50am
We left Folkestone two days ago, on the day of the mass funeral. We didn’t make it far.
In an unfamiliar bedroom, in an unfamiliar part of Kent, it’s my turn to keep watch on Kay. She’s asleep right now but I wouldn’t call her stable. Her breathing is laboured and she looks fragile where the infection has eaten away at her.
I’m sitting across the room as I write, in a rocking chair that I have no energy or inclination to rock, while I bat tears away with the back of my free hand. Some of the tears have made it onto the page, causing the ink to run in places, as though my words are crying too. I feel worse than useless.
Earlier this morning, Clay had taken Kay’s temperature with a thermometer he’d found in the family bathroom – 105 degrees. I didn’t know, but apparently 105 degrees is bad, like really fucking need-an-ICU-now sort of bad. She was yelling a stream of nonsense – I heard her say Sean’s name a couple of times as though she was talking to him, like she thought he was in the room with her. But her wide eyes couldn’t seem to focus on any one spot for long so I couldn’t be sure. Her skin was red and hot to the touch but she wasn’t sweating, which was a big problem; her internal thermometer had gone into meltdown.
Without running water or electricity to make ice, we couldn’t treat her the way I’d seen them do in the movies, by plunging her in an icy bath. Instead, all we could do was soak towels and flannels in rainwater from a water butt in the garden and sponge her burning skin down.
We’re using a water bottle, the type with a squirty top, to force fluids inside her at regular intervals, just small amounts at a time.
There’s already a yellowish/greenish bloody stain showing through her fresh bandage. I watched as Clay changed the dressing, just after I arrived at around 6am this morning. The skin around the bite was red and swollen and the puss that oozed from it smelt rotten. Life in the zombie apocalypse strengthens your stomach but I had been relieved when he placed a piece of gauze over the torn, painful-looking flesh. Cooled, cleaned and watered, that’s when Kay slipped from wakeful delirium to fitful sleep.
Once the others left, and before settling myself down in this chair to write, I removed the flannel from her forehead, hot from the contact with her waxy, fevered skin, and replaced it with one of the fresh, cool ones I’d brought up in a bucket. Afterwards, I placed the tips of my fingers at the side of her neck, just as I’d seen Clay do. I noticed the firm, raised lumps. The infection had spread to her lymph system.
Two days ago, we were en route to Surrey, to my parents’ house in Guildford. Well, we were en route to Wales to find Shelby – Zombie-Shelby, who we hope is still at the cottage where a group of us stayed while in Wales last year. She got bitten when Polly, my old housemate from pre-zom days, threw her to the zombies in order to save herself. Polly only delayed the inevitable and ended up being bitten during a shopping trip to Debenhams, but Shelby, she showed all the signs of being immune to the zombie virus, just as Sara had done: the lack of aggression, the remnant of basic memory, the ability to heal.
I wanted to go via Guildford so I could find out once and for all what had happened to my family. I was the only one of us, the ones who left Folkestone, who didn’t know for sure what had become of their pre-zombie-apocalypse family.
‘She doesn’t look good,’ I had said to Misfit as we packed some supplies into the Mazda before we set off. I could see Kay through a window of the house we’d moved into in Folkestone, along with the remaining St Andrews lot. Kay sat on the window seat in the kitchen, staring out into the front garden. She looked pale with dark circles under her eyes.
‘Some distance between her and him will help,’ said Misfit referring to Sean, her boyfriend. ‘Mourning’s a waste of precious energy. She needs to snap out of it.’
‘Thanks for that – Mr Sympathetic.’
‘Mr R. Survivor, actually.’
‘What’s the R stand for?’
‘Ruthless.’ Misfit half smiled at me before his gaze shot to the ground at his feet; and, while I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t think of anyone less ruthless than Misfit. Resourceful, but never ruthless.
‘We’d best say our goodbyes,’ I said as I took his rough, dry hand in mine and led him towards the house.
Inside, Clay and Charlotte stood in the hallway, ready to go. The surviving St Andrews lot, including Flick, who looked lost without Sara, had gathered around us in the large space. Sara – a healing zombie that Flick had rescued from a group of survivors that were torturing her – had been killed during a battle with Marco and his Human Zombies. The HZs had also killed a number of the St Andrews lot, as well as a guy called Sean that Kay briefly hooked up with (well, technically, it was Kay that killed him – put him down after he was bitten by Marco, who, in turn, had been bitten by Sara as she tried to protect us). I left the others to say their farewells while I edged my way into the kitchen towards Kay.
‘Time to go,’ I said. But Kay, clutching her axe to her chest, ignored me. I placed my hands around her shoulders and tugged upwards. She came willingly and, eyes cast to the ground, she allowed me to guide her to the hallway.
‘She OK?’ Chris mouthed as he approached me.
I nodded my head. ‘She will be,’ I said, looking at her.
I watched as Soph put her arms around her in a farewell hug but Kay only returned it half-heartedly.
‘Well, we’ll be seeing you,’ said Chris. I turned to face him and, leaning forwards, he gave me a bear hug. He grimaced as I accidently pressed against the stab wound on his chest.
‘Sorry,’ I said as I pulled away from him. ‘And, you bet you will,’ I added with a nod. I worked my way around the others, hugging each one while doing my best not to let the tears fall. I hadn’t realised, until that moment, just how much this little band of survivors meant to me. When every moment of every day is spent wondering how you will survive it, you don’t always consider the bigger picture. You even kid yourself that you don’t care about others as much as you do, because any one of them could die at any moment. If you don’t care, it doesn’t hurt. But you do and it does.
Kelly, little Ella under one arm, flung her free arm around me. ‘Thanks for everything,’ she said to me, her voice cracking. ‘I owe you… I don’t know if… my kids… we…’
‘It’s OK,’ I said, pulling back a bit so that I could see her face.
‘We might not be here if it wasn’t for you guys,’ she managed to say.
Shane sidled up beside her and placed an arm around her shoulder and hugged her and Ella tight.
I smiled at them and said, ‘It’s alright. No thanks needed,’ and I knew they’d have been OK even without us, because Kelly’s a survivor – she’d do whatever she had to do to keep her babies safe.
Dear old Dolly erupted into sobs when I said goodbye to her and Derek. She placed her palms on my cheeks and told me to take care of myself and I said I would and kissed her on the cheek, which only made her cry more, and Derek told her to stop being such a fuss pot but made me promise to take care of myself before wiping a tear from his red-rimmed eyes. Seeing Derek on the verge of tears put a lump in my throat. I swallowed and kissed him on the cheek too. As I was saying goodbye to Soph, I heard Dolly behind me telling Misfit to look after me. I heard Derek add that he’d give him a thick ear if he didn’t do as Dolly said. ‘She needs someone to look after her,’ said Derek. ‘She doesn’t know it, wouldn’t admit it even if she did. But she does.’
‘I’ll take care of her,’ I heard Misfit say.
I glanced at him and saw that he was staring at me.
Everyone followed us out to the car and, as I settled Kay into the back, I saw a fine film of sweat on her face, glistening in the weak winter sun.
‘You OK?’ I asked her.
‘I’m fine,’ she snapped.
Before I could respond, someone spoke to me from behind. ‘Find your friend and take care of her.’ I pulled my upper body from the car and turned to see Flick standing behind me.
‘I will, Flick. I promise.’
‘Sara’s short life served a purpose, so that others like her can be found and protected.’
‘We’ll do our best.’
As we drove off – me sitting upfront with Misfit and Kay, Clay and Charlotte in the backseat behind us – I could no longer hold back the tears and a flash flood fell. I immediately halted my tears with the sleeve of my shirt and in my peripheral vision, I saw Misfit glance at me. He didn’t ask how I was, and for that I was grateful. If I’d had to speak, the flood gates would have reopened. Misfit turned his attention back to the road ahead, and ploughed into a zombie he didn’t have time to slow down for. The body flew up and hit the windscreen but left no damage.
I opened a backpack at my feet and rummaged around until I found the notebook that Misfit had given me as a Christmas present, ready for when I felt like keeping a diary again. I needed a distraction from the sadness at saying goodbye to my friends, so I began to write, wanting to get down on paper the events of our last thirteen days in Folkestone: Marco, the HZs, losing so many friends… Sean.
So furiously my hand flew across the blank sheets of paper, I hardly noticed Misfit speak.
‘Huh?’ I said.
‘I said we should stop off at Sainsbury’s and grab some more supplies,’ he said. ‘I know it’s out of our way but we don’t know what it’s going to be like once we get on the road.’
‘Oh, yeah. Sure,’ I said without looking up from the rapidly filling pages.
After what felt like no time to me, the car stopped and I glanced up to see we had arrived already. Misfit had pulled up outside the smashed window of the supermarket.
‘Right, let’s be quick,’ he said to the rest of us.
I glanced behind me. Kay was slumped with her head against the window, taking a nap. I guessed, after everything she’d been through – putting her own boyfriend down after he got bit – the more rest she got, the better. ‘I’ll stay here with Kay,’ I said, glad of the opportunity to get more writing done.
The others agreed and, once they’d climbed out and headed into the store, I quickly glanced around the car park to check for zombies, then turned my attention back to my notebook. My hand became stiff as I wrote, and the words were painful reminders but I needed to set them down, to get them out of my system.
I jumped when I heard the thud on the side of the car. I turned to the source of the sound and saw a zombie slamming its palms against the driver’s side window. I had been so engrossed in writing, I hadn’t even notice it approach. I glanced around to see no sign of any more zombies and, fearful the noise would attract others, I climbed out of the Mazda and pulled my knife from my belt.
As I rounded the front of the vehicle, I cast a look inside the car. Kay had woken up and was staring at the zombie as it clawed and scratched at the window. With her movements slow, she pulled her axe from her belt. She opened the car door, shoving the zombie aside a little, and eased herself out onto the tarmac.
‘I got this, Kay,’ I said. She ignored me and shut the door, removing the barrier between her and the zombie. It lunged at her, Kay being the closest to it, and she raised her axe. I saw her sway on her feet, not quite with it. Her arm sagged as though the axe had become too heavy for her.
‘Kay!’ I yelled as she dropped down on one knee, her axe clattering to the ground beside her. The zombie grasped her hair and bent down towards her, ready to bite. I flung myself the last few feet between myself and it and plunged my knife into the top of its head. Its body fell onto Kay, knocking her back. I kicked the zombie off Kay and knelt down beside her, helping her up into a sitting position.
‘I tripped on something. Sodding potholes,’ she said.
I touched her forehead. Hot. Boiling hot.
‘Come on,’ I said, ‘let’s get you back in the car.’
I helped Kay up onto her feet and, opening the car door, I eased her back inside. As I crouched beside her, I noticed she’d started to shiver, despite how hot her skin felt.
‘Shut the bloody door. It’s cold out there,’ she said between chattering teeth.
‘I think you’re coming down with something,’ I said.
‘I’m fine, for fuck’s sake.’
‘No you’re not, Kay. You’re sick.’
‘I haven’t got time to get bloody sick,’ said Kay. ‘I just need a drink of water or something. Where are the others?’
‘They’re in the store getting supplies. I said I’d stay out here and look after you.’
‘Look after me? I’m not a bloody child, and I’m more than capable of helping out on a supply run.’ Kay shoved past me but as her feet made contact with the tarmac, I saw her put a hand to her forehead and her legs gave way.
I caught her and helped her back inside the car.
‘Just take it easy and rest for fuck’s sake,’ I said.
‘What’s going on?’ I heard Charlotte’s voice behind me and, still on my haunches I span around to see her, Clay and Misfit emerging from Sainsbury’s with a trolley load of supplies. Charlotte bounded across the tarmac ahead of the other two and, coming to a stop behind me, she peered inside the car at Kay.
‘Oh you don’t look too good, sweetie.’
‘Shut up, I’m fine.’
‘No you’re not,’ I said to Kay. I turned to Charlotte. ‘She’s got a bit of a temperature. I think she’s sick.’