“If you wait any longer it’ll be dark,” Tori said quietly as she walked up to the side of the boat.
“I keep telling, myself I have to go but then I can’t. I hesitate. Do me a favour,” I began and looked over to Tori. I could feel the tears still falling down my face.
“Anything,” Tori agreed as she looked at me concerned.
“Don’t wait. As soon as I’m off, go. GO all the way around the UK before you come back. I’ll have 2 radio’s with me in case something happens to one of them. Radio me when you get back here. If I don’t answer, keep going.” I stated, my voice breaking as I spoke.
“No. I may have said anything but that’s suicide,” Tori snapped. I shook my head and sucked in my lips, biting the bottom one.
“Suicide is staying here while I go over. It’s safer for everyone on board if you keep moving. We know that everything can become infected and that’s why we had to give up meat but all it takes is a bird to shit on the deck and someone touches it for everyone to die. Don’t stop moving,” I whispered when a light in one of the cabins turned on. Tori nodded mournfully before giving me a hug, the warmth of her embrace making my tears fall quicker.
“Stay safe,” Tori ordered quietly and I smiled as I saluted her. I walked over to the boat and climbed in as Tori pushed the dangling vessel over the edge of the ship.
“Good luck, My. See when you come back aboard,” Tori said with a smile but her voice was laced with sorrow.
“You too,” I responded before the boat was lowered onto the dark waves below. The last rays of gold and yellow fought to get through the clouds as the dark grey sky loomed overhead, a warning of the inevitable future that awaited me on land.
Deciding against the motor at night, I grabbed the oars from the side of the boat and began paddling towards the ferocious land behind me, the distant inhuman screams daunting and turning my blood to ice as I got closer. The sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat, once, would have been pleasant but now it only put me more on edge. The breaking of the water from the oars was barely noticeable to me but it wasn’t me that needed to not hear it. Under the surface of the water waited a peril worse than land.
The sound of waves beginning to crash on the reefs and the shore sent my body into fight or flight mode. I hadn’t been alone since all of this began. I hadn’t been alone at night since my mother died to save me when I was only 4 years old. I hadn’t been alone in a boat in my lifetime.
I stopped paddling as I took a last glance to the White Horse, seeing it as it left the harbour to begin it’s 14 day sail around the UK. There would be enough stored food for that long but no longer. I felt the tide grab hold of the lifeboat and push it onto the beach with one of the larger waves. I waited for the water to go out before jumping out and pulling the boat up the beach a bit more, jumping back in as the waves crashed over the sand again.
By the time I had gotten the boat out of the water, the sun was gone. The stars remained hidden from view and there were no lights to guide my way in the pitch black of night. I grabbed the torch from my pocket and turned it on, the blue artificial light reflecting on the damp crystal sand as I looked around. I could see the houses on the shoreline beginning to crumble away as the sand collapsed underneath it, plants and trees overgrown and destructive where they stood. I walked forwards quietly, heading for the barely visible path over the dunes. I could hear distant groans in the distance but hoped that the sound of my feet on the brick paths wouldn’t disturb the rotting corpses.
The sound of silence echoed heavily through the shops on the side of the road. The smashed and bloody windows a sure sign that there are no survivors in the building. I could feel the cold piercing through my jumper as the wind began to moan around me, the sound of zombies being drowned out by the sound.
Realising it was too risky to keep going with the weather like this, I ducked into a house on the other side of the street. I checked the street to be sure there were no zombies before bending over and picking the lock. The door opened soundlessly and I crept in, closing and locking the door behind me. The house creaked as I walked, the stale smell of smoke filling the air. I flashed my light up and looked around the room to find a cigarette on a light brown, wood table, smoke spiralling up from the orange glow on the end.,
I went to take a step forward when something collided with the back of my head and all I saw was black. I could hear muffled voices in my subconscious and I felt like I was being carried but I couldn’t move, couldn’t focus and couldn’t think. I felt weightless as I slipped between the edge of consciousness and the blackness of sleep. I managed to pull myself back into consciousness enough that I could groan in pain.
“Why did you catch a zombie?” A distant but recognisable English voice asks.
“It picked the lock to the house.” Another English voice responds.
“I’m… not zombie…” I managed to say but my words felt heavy on my lips.
“She’s human,” the voice said but my eyes were still closed and felt too heavy to open.
“14 days… 14…days,” I said before I passed out.