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.
I don’t remember falling asleep but waking up was hard to forget. My whole body ached from sleeping on the cold, hard floor of Mister Singh’s shop. I wiped the crusty sleep away from my eyes and sat up. The first thing I saw was Jim holding his index finger up to his lips.
“Shhh.” He whispered and pointed towards the door that led into the Singh living quarters.
I looked back at the door and heard a faint scratching coming from the other side. Then a slight groan. My eyes widened and I looked back at Jim who was already waking everyone up by putting his hand over their mouth and tapping them on the shoulder. For the most part, everyone understood that they shouldn’t make any noise.
“Aw, mate. My back is wrecked from that fucking floor.” Travis grumbled. He then yawned loudly and looked at Dexy. “You got any of those bourbons left, mate?”
“Shut the fuck up!” Jim hissed.
“Alright mate, keep your hair…” His sentence was interrupted by a loud bang against the other side of the Singh’s house door.
“Dickhead.” Gemma smacked Travis in the chest with the flat of her hand.
Another bang. Then a groan followed by more banging and scratching at the door.
“Well, they know we’re here now.” Jim rubbed his bald head in frustration.
“Let’s just leave.” Dodge said. “They aint getting in.”
“What about Becky though?” Gemma asked, a worried look cast dark shadows across her features.
“That probably is Becky, sweetheart.” Jim said solemnly. “And her mum and dad.”
“We can’t just leave.” Dexy said knowingly. We all looked at him, wanting him to elaborate. “Mister Singh’s got the keys.” He added. “We’re going nowhere without those keys, Bruv.”
“Shit.” Jim nodded. “He’s right.”
I haven’t slept well since all this started and if this is what I could expect to be waking up to every morning, I might just never sleep again.
“Well there’s only three of ’em.” Travis said. “My ankle still hurts like fuck though so I should probably stay back.”
Jim stood up and pulled the pistol from his belt. He released the clip and checked it before slamming it back into place.
“It would be a great loss to mankind if anything were to happen to you, Pikey.” He sneered, looking down at Travis, who was slowly getting to his feet with the help of the cereal shelf as support. Gemma laughed nervously, unsure if Jim was joking or not.
He wasn’t joking.
“If I shoot them, the noise might attract more.” Jim aimed the gun at the door. He held it in one hand and supported it with the other. I have to admit, he looked like a professional with a gun.
“If you don’t, they might get one of us.” Dexy added.
Jim looked at Dexy and nodded.
“Shoot them it is, then.” He said. “Open the door for me, son.”
Barney growled as Dexy moved slowly towards the door. He wrapped his fingers around the handle and silently mouthed a countdown.
Jim was ready to bring down a hail of bullets on the monsters behind the door.
Dexy yanked at the handle.
“Fuck!” He yelled.
“What?” I asked. My heart was thumping against my rib cage and my stomach churned.
“It’s locked, Bruv.” Dexy answered.
“Pull harder.” Jim told him.
Dexy tugged at the door handle a few more times but the door wasn’t budging.
“Nah, Bruv.” He sighed. “That aint going nowhere.”
Jim pulled out his knife and handed it to Dexy, hilt first.
“Try jimmying the lock with this.” Jim said.
Dexy reached out and took the knife. He rolled the hilt in his hand and marvelled at the blade.
“Nice.” Dexy nodded his head in admiration. He then turned back to the door and set to work, sticking the blade between the door and the wall. After a lot of grunting and cursing we finally all heard the distinct click of a lock releasing.
The Singh family were now going crazy behind the door. One of them, I think it was Mister Singh, made vicious snapping noises and a guttural growling rumbled deep in his throat. These were noises that I had never even heard animals make, certainly never a human.
“They’re getting frisky.” Jim said with a smile. I wasn’t comfortable with his gallows humour but I understood that it was probably a coping mechanism for him. The less seriously he took a situation, the less chance it had of turning him into a quivering heap of insanity.
I’m actually jealous. All I have are words on paper to help me cope.
“Alright, Bruv,” Dexy said, pushing his weight against the door to stop the Singh’s from making a surprise entrance. “On three.”
“Just fucking open it, son!” Jim snapped.
Dexy pulled the door open and took a small obliging bow before running back towards the rest of us. I covered my ears, not wishing to be deafened by gunshots a second time.
Three shots, three corpses. Becky and her mother were sprawled across Mister Singh looking like the victims of a Twister game gone very dark and very wrong. Dark crimson blood and brain matter spilled out onto the clean white floor. Gemma doubled over and heaved noisily, the contents of her stomach rushed out of her mouth and spattered onto Travis’s white trainers.
“Shit, babe.” Travis protested. “Watch it.”
“Sorry.” Gemma wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her black suede jacket.
Jim was crouched down by the Singh corpses, digging around in the pockets of Mister Singh.
“Here we go.” He held up a bunch of keys triumphantly. “Now let’s go see your arms dealer, son.” He pointed at Dexy.
“Why’s he keep calling me, son, Bruv?” Dexy whispered to nobody in particular. None of us knew the answer.
“William.” Jim walked up and stopped in front of me.
“Jim?” I asked.
“I’ve been thinking.” He absently stroked his moustache. “Maybe we should come back here.”
“Okay.” I said. “What for, though?”
“Well look at it.” He waved his arms toward the aisles of food and then at the metal shutters. “It’s a fucking fortress of food and drink.”
“Yeah, Bruv!” Dexy said excitedly. “Fucking fortress!”
Even Barney was jumping around wagging his tail in agreement.
“Sounds good, Jim.” I agreed, appreciating the façade of me having a say while Gemma was around.
Jim held his hand open in front of Dexy and nodded his head towards it.
Dexy looked confused for a moment but the light of realisation soon illuminated his features.
“Oh yeah.” He said, handing Jim’s knife over. “Almost forget about that.”
“So I see.” Jim put the knife back into the inside pocket of his coat and smiled at Dexy. “Good lad.” He patted Dexy’s arm and walked past him, to the main entrance of the shop.
He then opened the door and pulled up the shutter. After a few seconds of looking up and down the street he turned back to us.
“Looks clear.” He said, stepping outside.
We followed closely behind him. I could hear Holly groaning and kicking inside the car.
This was something that I would have to deal with. Sooner or later I just knew, deep down I knew that there was no hope for this virus, no hope for these cannibalistic animals. When that time came, I would have to man up and finish Holly off. Surely it would be considered a mercy killing, there’s no way that Holly would want to live like that, where her only goal is to bite out my throat or any throat that comes into range.
Nobody wants to live like that, right? I’ll tell you this for nothing, if I become one of those things, if I catch this disease, virus, whatever the fuck it is; if that happens then Jim has my full permission to lead the group in a ‘bash William’s head in’ party.
I had to do this, for the sake of all of us. What if she got free somehow and bit Gemma? I wouldn’t be able to live with that. Why put these people at risk for a million to one shot at the NHS finding a cure? They were as in the dark as the rest of us.
Jim locked the shop up and then stood by the passenger side car door.
“Shit, mate.” Travis said to Gemma. “I forgot your mum was in the car.” He must have heard her too.
A wave of cold coursed through my veins as I remembered what Timothy Mills of the great British NHS had said. I felt numb, as though I had stepped away from myself and someone else had taken control.
“It’s not her mum.” I said impassively. “Not even a person.”
I walked to the back of the Ford and pulled open the door to Holly’s makeshift holding cell. I reached in and grabbed her legs, pulling her out.
“Not even a person!” I shouted.
Gemma ran up and rained a hail of punches onto my back.
“Dad no!” She pleaded. “Stop it, Dad!”
I ignored her pleas and tears and gave a big heave, dumping Holly onto the road. She snapped and growled under her pillowcase mask.
“Mum.” Gemma fell to her knees, sobbing with disbelief at the events unfolding before her eyes. “No.”
“It’s not your Mum!” I snapped, the tone of my voice made her jump visibly. She looked up at me through tearful eyes but I was too far gone to care.
“William.” Jim stepped into the fray. “Stop.”
“Oh piss off, Jim.” I spat the words out vehemently. “You wanted to kill her in the first place.”
Travis crouched down to comfort Gemma, placing a hand on her shoulder and whispering something in her ear.
“Don’t do this, William.” He warned. “Not in front of your girl.”
“Not.” I lifted my foot, ignoring Jim’s warning.
“Even.” I brought the heel of my foot down onto Holly’s head.
“A.” I did the same thing a second time, I could feel the bone of her skull crack beneath my weight.
“Person.” The third stomp filled the pillowcase with blood.
“That’s some cold shit, Bruv.” Dexy said softly as I looked down at what I had done.
My poor, flesh eating, not even a person, dead Holly.
I could barely hear Gemma wailing as blood coursed through my veins, hammering past my ear drums.
“I’m…” I stepped away from the scene, suddenly feeling crippled with guilt. “Sorry.”
The last thing I remember was Jim’s massive fist smashing into my face.