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.
“Look at it out here.” Jim spoke in the hushed tone of disbelief. “I had no idea that it was this bad.”
I could only nod my head in grim agreement. The SUV’s engine purred as we drove slowly and carefully down the streets. Bodies were piled up on the pavements looking like a nightmarish display of broken and bloodied rag dolls. The roads were slick with blood and viscera. Unrecognisable body organs squelched and popped as the heavy wheels of the Ford forced them into submission. House doors had been left wide open and in one of the doorways we saw a brown and white Springer Spaniel sitting beside the body of (what we assumed was) its master. The Spaniel stared at me through mournful eyes and howled its abject despair into the sky.
Gunshots and sirens blasted their way through the air from the city centre. God alone knows what it was like down there, but we were both happy that we were heading in the opposite direction.
“Poor little bastard.” I said, nodding my head toward the Spaniel. I brought the car to a halt and reached behind my seat to open the back door. I then pushed the button to wind down my window.
“What are you doing?” Jim hissed.
“Come on, then.” I whispered out of the window, ignoring Jim’s question. The Spaniel looked at me and cocked it’s head to one side. “Come on!” My whisper more urgent now. The Spaniel wagged its tail and came running, leaping over the garden fence and scrambling up into the back-seat of the SUV. As soon as it was sat down I reached back, closed the door, closed my window and carried on driving through this insane new World.
“What’s it’s name?” I asked.
Jim stared angrily at me.
“How the fuck do I know?” He shrugged. I looked through the rear view mirror and saw that it was a male.
“He’s got a name tag on his collar, have a look.”
Jim reached back and tried to grab the dog by its collar but it just crouched down and growled at him in that ‘don’t even think about it’ way that dogs have.
Holly started moving around behind her bars and growled along with the Spaniel. Jim turned back around to face the road.
“Whatever its name is, your missus isn’t impressed.” He said. “You’re not seriously keeping the dog are you?”
“Sure I am. Why not?”
“Noise, William. Noise.” He motioned his hand toward the street. “You know why there’s none of those things running around here?”
“Because they all fucked off toward the guns and sirens going on in the city.” He told me. “When that dog starts barking, those things will come running.” He said, adding “and it will start barking, you can be sure of that.”
“Let’s just give him a chance?” I pleaded with a sigh. “He’s a survivor, like us.”
“First noise it makes and I’ll cut it’s throat. That’s the chance it gets.” Jim snorted.
I shook my head disapprovingly. Jim was such a dick, why had I even let him in the SUV? I could have just got in, locked the doors and left him to bully my empty garage. Sometimes though, Diary, sometimes I think that he’ll be useful, but in that very same thought I can see him happily killing me to ensure his own survival.
I really need to ditch him, first chance I get.
“How much further to her boyfriends place?” Jim asked.
“Just a few streets.” I told him.
A few minutes later I pulled up outside a high rise block of flats. Bodies spilled from the main entrance of the building, blocking any hope of getting in or out.
“This is it.” I said.
Jim leaned forward and looked up at the building and then back down at the bodies. He shook his head and drew in a sharp intake of breath reminding me of a dishonest mechanic about to tell someone how much work their car needed.
“What floor?” He wanted to know.
“I don’t know, six or seven I think.” Gemma had told me in the past but the information didn’t stick.
“You really think she’s in there?”
“I have to know for sure.”
“Of course you do.” Jim patted my shoulder with his huge hand. “Of course you do.”
The Spaniel whimpered and then curled up on the back-seat, hiding his nose beneath his tail, clearly wanting no part of this. Holly kicked her feet out, banging the side of the Ford and growling from within her pillow case hood.
“Well, this won’t get done by staring, now will it?” Jim got out of the SUV and quietly clicked the door back in place. Smart. No noise.
I looked back at the Spaniel and reached across to look at his tag. He didn’t growl at me, and was happy for me to take a look, he even gave my hand a little lick. The tag had blood on it which I cleared away with my thumb to reveal “Barney” etched into the brass tag.
“Okay, Barney.” I said, happy that I knew his name now. “You wait here and keep Holly company while I go and get Gemma.”
He wagged his tail and seemed happy that he wasn’t leaving the safety of the back-seat. I exited the Ford and followed Jim’s lead by closing the door carefully.
“You’re going to like Gemma.” I told Barney just before the door clicked shut.