William Daniels is successful author of children’s books, a loving husband and a caring father. His normal, happy life is turned upside down when an infection turns normal people into bloodthirsty animals who want only one thing, human flesh. William learns a lot about himself and his fellow man in this bleak and deadly new world. This is his diary. This is The Final Diary.
Dexy kicked the cell door for most of the night whilst shouting about the unfairness of the situation, and how the Police wouldn’t get away with it. The noise riled up the infected that they had locked in the other cells, causing them to howl and snarl hungrily. At around Three AM he stopped his fruitless assault on the door and sat with his back against it. Nobody came and I wondered if they had left us in here to rot.
I tried to sleep but only managed to fall in and out of fitful naps, the kind that make you feel worse when you awake than you felt before sleeping.
Morning arrived and shards of daylight tried to stream in but were diffused by the tiny cell window. Even though some shadows were cast out by the minuscule amount of light that had fought it’s way in, the cell remained gloomy and uninviting. I suppose that’s the point of a cell. There was a toilet set into a small alcove in the corner of the cell which neither of us particularly wanted to use but both of us needed to.
“How long do you think they’ll keep us?” I asked Dexy.
We had both sat on the stone slab that passed for a bench or a bed depending on the time of day.
“I dunno, Bruv.” Dexy buried his head in his hands and let out a long exasperated sigh.
“The Detective.” I said. “Mason. How did he know you?”
“You get to know some of them in my line of work.” He grinned.
“He’s a right dick.” Dexy continued. “Don’t really know the rest of them, though.”
Our conversation was interrupted by the rattle of keys and the sound of the main cell-block gate swinging open. Two sets of footsteps echoed past our door.
“Why is it always us doing this, Sarge?” We heard a voice ask.
Dexy tried to look through the spyhole on our door but a metal fob had been closed over it. I knelt and peered through the keyhole. I saw P.C. Berry and the officer that had been aiming a sniper rifle at us. Both of them were dressed in Police uniforms. They wore yellow rubber gloves and each held a heavy looking metal bucket. I thought that I could see thin rivulets of blood streaming down the bucket that Berry was carrying.
“Perks of the job, son.” Sniper quipped.
Dexy was now angling his head to get a view past the fob that covered the spyhole.
“What they got in the buckets?” He whispered to me.
“Not sure.” I shrugged.
The two officers were now out of sight but we heard a rattle of keys and a loud clanging noise.
“What was that?” I asked.
Dexy pointed to the closed hatch in the middle of our door.
“They just opened one of these up.” He explained.
We both resumed our attempts to see what was going on.
“Morning, Mister Price.” Sniper said cheerfully. “Hope you’re feeling well today.”
We heard a loud growl and then banging against a cell door.
“Oi, oi!” Sniper laughed. “No need for that, Sir. It’s me, Harry King.” He explained. “I work with your wife.”
“I don’t think he cares, Sarge.” Berry said.
“No.” Sniper admitted in a sorrowful tone. “I don’t think he does.”
We heard a squelching noise followed by the sound of something wet and heavy hitting the floor.
“He’s hungry though.” Sniper said as the hatch slammed closed.
Whatever was in that cell now slurped and smacked like it had been starved for a year and then placed in front of an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The officers came into view and opened the hatch of the cell opposite ours. An arm lunged out at them, clawing at the air, it’s owner growling at the two officers.
“Easy now, Helen.” Harry King said, stepping back to avoid the flailing arm. “We don’t want to hurt you.”
Helen’s arm vanished back into the shadows of the cell and Harry King pulled some raw meat from his bucket. Blood spattered down onto the floor and Harry quickly tossed the meat through the hatch.
“Messy business, this.” He told his younger colleague.
“Here,” Berry reached into his bucket and took out an arm. A human arm that had been cut off just below the elbow. “Give her this.”
Harry King stepped aside and flourished his free hand towards the open hatch.
“Be my guest.” He said.
Berry stepped forward and pushed the arm through the hatch. Helen growled as it hit the floor.
“Are we going out again today?” Berry asked while closing and locking the hatch of Helen’s cell. “We’ve already gone through all the people with gun licenses and these roadblocks are a waste of time.”
“Quiet!” Harry hissed. “Don’t forget we’ve got new guests.” He looked over at our cell.
Dexy and I quickly backed away from the door, hoping that they wouldn’t see our shadows. Hoping that they wouldn’t know we were listening.
The next cell was treated with a lot more dignity than the previous ones.
“There you go, babe.” Harry said quietly, followed by the now familiar slop of meat on the floor. “Here’s some for the kids, too.”
We heard more than one infected scurrying around that cell, hissing and growling as they claimed their gruesome prize.
Then, Harry King and Constable Berry left, closing and locking the main gate behind them.
Dexy sat on the stone bench, his back against the cold wall, and looked up at the ceiling.
“Bruv.” He spoke so quietly that I could barely hear him.
I sat next to him.
“They’re feeding people to them.” He continued. “Actual people.”
“I know.” Was all I could say.
“We need to get out of here.” His voice grew louder with each syllable. “Because I am not going to be dinner for Mister-fucking-Price!”
“Why would they feed them?” I hadn’t tried to feed Holly, hadn’t even considered it as an option.
“Does it matter, Bruv?” Dexy was agitated. He stood up and headed for the door. “Maybe they’re hungry or maybe these filthy Police pigs have gone mental.”
“It hasn’t even been a week.” I stated.
Dexy stopped and looked back at me.
“What?” He asked.
“All of this.” I explained. “It hasn’t even been a week yet, and they’re cutting people up to feed those monsters?” The last part was more a question than a statement.
“I’m telling you, Bruv,” Dexy tapped the side of his head with an outstretched index finger. “Mental.” As he said the word he looked at me cross-eyed and opened his mouth wide.
I started to laugh. I have no idea why, maybe it was the bizarre situation, the look on Dexy’s face when he said “Mental.”, maybe I was finally losing my grip on reality, or it could have been all of the above. I didn’t care why, but I was laughing so hard that it started to hurt my stomach. Dexy gave me an odd look at first, but it wasn’t long before he joined in the laughter. There we were, prisoners of the insane Police, no real hope of escape, no idea if the rest of our group were safe or dead or worse, not even sure if we were destined to be breakfast for our fellow prisoners. That awful world slipped away for this one moment and we laughed until our stomachs ached and tears rolled down our faces.
“Enjoying yourselves, boys?” Kate Palmer asked.
We looked at the door in unison. Neither of us had heard the gate or the hatch of our door open. Yet there it was, wide open with D.C. Kate Palmer staring in at us. I wiped the tears away from my eyes and stood up, still wanting to laugh but choosing to compose myself.
“Brought you some teas.” She told us, handing two polystyrene cups with plastic lids through the hatch.
I rushed up and took the offered drinks, turning to pass one to Dexy.
“Thank-you.” I said.
She vanished from view momentarily before returning and passing two plastic plates to us. On each plate was a slice of toast with a small helping of baked beans and a rather sad looking fried egg on top. Dexy grabbed one of the plates and started eating from it as fervently as one of those monsters would eat flesh.
“He’s hungry.” I explained, offering a smile as I took my plate of food from her and put it and the cup of tea on the floor by my feet.
“So I see.” She laughed. “Well, enjoy.”
As she was about to raise the door of the hatch I placed my hand in the way.
“Please, wait.” I said. “I.. we need to talk to you.”
I looked back at Dexy, he had already finished his food and was now slurping noisily from his cup.
“I put sugar in the tea.” Kate said, taking her hands away from the hatch. “No point counting calories in an apocalypse, is there?”
“Is that what they’re calling it?” I asked. “The apocalypse?”
“No. It was just a…” She paused. “a bad joke.”
“Can you tell us what’s happening?” I had hundreds of questions racing through my mind but knew that asking them all would just get the hatch closed. “How it started?”
“Nobody’s really sure.” She told us. Dexy was now standing beside me, listening intently to our Jailer. “We got called into the city and an Army captain told us that there’d been an attack on the London underground.”
“What, like terrorists?” Dexy asked. “Which station did they bomb?”
“All of them.” Kate answered, brushing an errant strand of hair behind her right ear. “It was some kind of gas. The Army called them dirty bombs, chemical warfare.”
“Fuck.” Dexy whispered the word, which strangely, added more weight to it.
“So is this just happening here, in England?” I wanted to know.
Kate shook her head.
“Nobody really knew.” She said. “We were told to help the Army control the situation in the city.” She looked at me and I instantly saw the torture burning behind her eyes.
“It went really bad, really quickly. Everyone from this station, except for us, died.” She swallowed and looked away momentarily.
“So the Chief Inspector ordered us to leave the fight and come home.” A tear traced it’s way across her cheek.
“She thought it was wrong to kill them, anyway.” She explained, quickly wiping the tear away with her sleeve. “Said they were sick and needed help.”
“What do you think?” I asked her.
“I don’t know.” She replied, looking down at the floor. “I think it’s kill or be killed.”
“Oh it’s definitely that.” Dexy agreed. “Most Def.”
“I should go.” She tried to raise the hatch but I still had my hand in the way.
“Kate, isn’t it?” I asked softly.
“That’s right.” She replied.
“I’m William,” I motioned across to Dexy. “And this is Dexy.” I told her. “We really need your help, Kate.”
“I can’t.” She argued.
“You know that this is wrong.” I wasn’t about to take ‘no’ for an answer, I felt that I was getting through to her. “These other cells are full of those things and they’re being fed.”
“I know.” She said. “We picked up everyone’s family after we got back from the City. The ones we found were already infected so we brought them back here.”
“Are your family here?” I inquired.
“No, they…” Another tear made it’s way down her face. She wiped it away angrily before continuing. “No.”
“Why are they feeding them?” I asked, careful not to include Kate in the actions of her colleagues.
“Feeding people to them, Bruv.” Dexy interjected. “Don’t forget that part.” He pushed his face through the hatch opening.
“Are they going to feed us to them?” He demanded. “Are they?”
“Dexy, don’t.” I pulled him away from the hatch and as I did so, Kate closed and locked it.
“I’ll come back later.” She whispered.
I sat to eat my breakfast and drink my tea. Once finished, I paced up and down the length of the cell with a worried look on my face.
“You think she’ll help us get out of here?” Dexy asked.
“I hope so.” I answered simply.
“Never trust a copper, Bruv.” He advised.
Even though I was hopeful that Kate would help us, I still tried to think of a plan B. Or at the very least, some way to contact the others. Then it hit me like all simple solutions do, in that slap on the forehead ‘duh’ kind of way.
“I still have my mobile.” I whispered incredulously, triumphantly pulling the mobile ‘phone out of my trouser pocket. I felt stupid. We had been here all night and I hadn’t even checked my pockets.
Neither had the Police. We had just been frogmarched into a cell and locked up.
Dexy jumped to his feet with a broad grin on his face.
“Nice one!” He yelled, the noise caused a few grunts and groans from our new neighbours.
I quickly lifted my hand and motioned for him to be quieter.
“Sorry, Bruv.” He said softly. “Got a bit excited.”
“Should I text Gemma?” I asked. “Or call?”
“Text her, Bruv.” Dexy replied with a sagely nod of his head. “Find out if they’re all okay.” He paused to look down at the floor and then back across at me. “Find out if Dodge is okay.”
So I typed out a text with my index finger, wondering if Gemma would reply even if she could. I hoped that us getting split up had at least made her a little less angry with me.
<blockquote>William: Hi. Are you okay?
“She replied!” I said excitedly.
“Let me see.” Dexy looked over my shoulder hopefully, but that quickly became disappointment. “She’s still pissed at you, Bruv.”
“I know.” I admitted. “At least she answered. It’s better than nothing.”
“Ask her if my brother is okay.” He pointed at the ‘phone. “And Jim.”
“Alright. Alright.” I told him.
<blockquote>William: Dexy wants to know if Dodge is safe.
Gemma: Evry1 fine.
“Everyone’s fine!” Dexy almost leapt into the air, he was so happy. “Everyone’s fine, Bruv!”
I smiled and typed out another text.
<blockquote>William: What about Jim?
Gemma: Got hedake lol
Her spelling was terrible but thankfully I could translate teenager text. Unsurprisingly, Jim had a headache.
<blockquote>William: Where are you?</blockquote>
As we stood there waiting for a reply, the screen went black.
“No!” I screamed at the ‘phone. “Damn you!”
“What, Bruv?” Dexy looked concerned. “What’d she say?”
“Nothing.” I felt defeated and meekly put the ‘phone back in my pocket. “The battery’s dead.”
“Shit.” Dexy’s shoulders sank and he sat on the bench.
I sat next to him and sighed.
We remained in silence for almost half an hour, just staring at the wall opposite us. I was deep in thought about Gemma, hoping that I’d be able to see her again, to explain and apologise for what I did to Holly. Then I wondered if the Police here were right to lock their loved ones up.
Should I have kept Holly alive? They knew a lot more about what was happening than I did. Was there hope for these monsters?
I hoped that there wasn’t. If there was, then I murdered my wife.
“You did good, Bruv.” Dexy mercifully interrupted my thoughts.
I grunted, my mind still not fully released from the waves of guilt.
“With that C.I.D woman.” He explained. “You did good.” He looked across at me. “You’re a good talker. I just get angry but you kept cool, Bruv.”
“Thanks.” As I looked at Dexy, his hood was pulled up and it reminded me of the attack that had happened the day before. The ambush, the Hoodie monster, the denial.
“You know, he didn’t want to believe that those things ambushed us, yesterday.” I stated, completely changing the subject. I didn’t take praise very well. I always appreciated it, I was just never sure how to respond to it.
“Who didn’t?” Dexy inquired.
“Mason.” I told him.
“Well,” Dexy said non-committally. “It could have just been a coincidence.”
“Really?” I demanded, obviously upset. “You saw the hooded one, right?”
“Yeah.” Dexy sighed. “I saw it.”
“The way he got the rest of them to wait?” I asked. “The way he pointed at us, like a threat?”
“I dunno. Bruv.” Dexy shook his head. “I saw it, but it might not mean anything.”
I thought for a moment, playing the events through my mind, trying to remember each tiny detail, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Then I had a eureka moment. I wagged my index finger in Dexy’s direction.
“Wait a minute.” I said excitedly. “It was you!”
“What the fuck you going on about, Bruv?” Dexy was already bored with this conversation. “What was me?”
“I thought he was pointing at all of us.” I explained. “But it was you. He was pointing at you.”
“What you trying to say, Bruv?” Dexy asked angrily. “You think I’m all buddy, buddy with those things?”
“No.” I responded quickly, not wanting to make an enemy out of the only other person in the cell. “No, not that.”
“That’s what I can’t work out.” I replayed the events through my mind again and again, but it just didn’t make sense. “Maybe he wanted you for something?”
“Yeah.” Dexy chuckled to himself. “He must have needed a new best friend.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “You’re talking shit, Bruv. They just wanted to eat us. Simple.”
“Maybe.” I feigned agreement.
He wasn’t right, I knew that much, at least. I just didn’t know exactly <em>how</em> wrong he was.
We both heard a key rattling in the main gate and we rushed up to the cell door, I hoped that it was Kate; that she had come to free us.
As a key unlocked our cell door I grew even more excited, unable to resist smiling. The door made a loud metallic squeal as it opened to reveal…
Harry King, holding a double-barrelled shotgun.
“Now then, Sunshine.” He said, levelling the gun at me. “The Chief Inspector wants a word with you.”
I looked at Dexy and he in turn, looked at Harry King.
“What about me?” He asked.
“You get to stay here and wait.” King smirked. “Come on then,” He said, turning his attention back to me. “I haven’t got all day, Sunshine.”
Crestfallen, I trudged towards him.