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 wish that I had never started writing about these events. As I look back over the pages, I feel nothing but sadness and regret. Sadness because we now live in this dismal new world full of ravenous monsters; and regret that I wasn’t one of the first to die. It seems that my only purpose in this world is to document what happens. Maybe one day it will seem worthwhile. Today isn’t that day.
I awoke with a thumping headache and slight confusion. Then I remembered what I had done and sat up. They had locked me in the back of the Ford, locked me where I had been keeping my infected wife, my Holly-monster. I rubbed my eyes and noticed that the body of Holly was lying beside me; the pillowcase that was stained with thick, congealed blood still covered her head. I saw this as a small mercy; I don’t think I could have coped with her dead eyes staring at me.
Jim was driving, and Dexy sat in the passenger seat giving directions. Gemma was crying into Travis’s chest on the back seat and Dodge was petting Barney while staring blankly out of the window.
“There he is.” Jim said brightly, looking back at me through the rear view mirror. “How’s the head, killer?”
“Gemma…” I sounded pathetic.
“Don’t even speak to me.” She kept her face buried in Travis’s sweater, which muffled her voice. I still heard every damning word with crystal clarity.
“But I…” I had no idea what I should say. I just knew that I had to say something. I had to make her understand that it was for the good of everyone. One bite from Holly and we could have all ended up dead. That video clip said they weren’t even people!
“You heard the girl.” Jim interrupted. “Don’t go causing any more upset, William.”
Why wasn’t he on my side? Why wasn’t he explaining to the rest of them that I had done the right thing, the best thing for all of us? I had kept Holly around a hell of a lot longer than he would have. If he had had his way, she would have been killed back at the house.
“Why is she here?” I asked, looking down at the lifeless body.
“Should we have left her on the side of the road, William?” Jim barked back at me.
“Just stop talking, Dad!” Gemma lifted her head and screamed the words at me.
“I..I’m,” I took a moment to find the right words. “I’m sorry.” Sometimes the right words are the simplest.
I looked out of the back window and wondered why there weren’t more cars driving around. I would have expected to see the roads jammed with people wanting to be anywhere but here. Had this thing hit us so badly that there was hardly anyone left?
Who? What? Why? Where? How? All I had were questions, questions that nobody here could answer.
“Oh no.” I heard Dexy mutter. “No.no.no.no.”
Jim brought the car to a halt. I turned to see what was going on.
Three police cars blocked the road ahead. Six police officers were standing behind the cars. Four of them were dressed in uniform, the other two, a man and a (quite attractive) woman, were in plain clothes. They all wore tactical vests and they all had guns aimed at our car.
It’s not often that you see police with guns around here, but when you do, they usually carry the same type of guns. These six though, they had a mixture. Two of them held double-barrelled shotguns; one held a sniper rifle, the plain-clothes ones each had a pistol, and the one in the centre of them all, a middle-aged woman, held a magnum. It looked just like the one Clint Eastwood used in the ‘Dirty Harry’ movies. In real life though, it seemed even bigger and a lot deadlier.
“Just leave, man.” Dexy said. “Get us out of here.”
“They have guns aimed at us.” Jim stated. “They don’t look afraid to use them, either.”
The middle-aged woman with the Magnum and the two officers holding shotguns moved around the police cars and headed towards us with their guns aiming in our direction. One of the officers stood by the passenger side door of the Ford and raised his shotgun level with Dexy’s head. The second officer, who sported a thin moustache that he barely looked old enough to grow, stood next to his colleague with his own shotgun aimed at everyone in the back seat.
The middle-aged woman tapped the barrel of her huge pistol against the driver’s side window. Jim pressed the button and the window whirred its way down.
“Good morning.” The middle-aged woman said in a cheerful yet stern tone. “I’m Chief Inspector Price.”
Jim nodded his head but said nothing.
“Over there you have Constable Berry.” The officer at the passenger side window raised the barrel of his shotgun in an unspoken greeting. “And Constable Wood.” The officer with the not-quite-there-yet moustache raised his eyebrows at us.
Chief Inspector Price wore her jet-black hair in a bun pulled back so tight, that it threatened to tear her face off. She had cold, blue eyes and thin lips. I silently prayed that Jim was not going to piss her off.
“How can we help, you?” Jim asked flatly, looking at the officers that had stayed behind the police cars.
The Chief Inspector smiled, reached into the Ford and snatched the key out of the ignition; she then opened the car door.
“Step out of the vehicle, please sir.” She said with the barrel of her gun only inches away from Jim’s temple.
Jim sighed heavily and got out of the car. As he did so, the two officers in plain clothes headed our way. The plain-clothes man wore beige trousers and a pink shirt with a dark blue tie while the woman wore tight jeans and a thin black jacket over a red tee shirt.
The sniper though, he stayed where he was.
“Now, where are you all heading?” The Chief Inspector asked.
“We’re just trying to find somewhere safe.” Jim lied.
The plain-clothes officers had now reached the Ford.
“Good morning, Sir.” Pink shirt said. “I’m Detective Inspector Mason and this is Detective Constable Palmer.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.” Jim was using his irked tone. “Why have you stopped us?”
D.I. Mason ignored Jim’s question and poked his head into the car, looking around at us all before finally staring at Dexy and grinning.
“Well, well.” He said with a wink. “If it isn’t ‘Sexy Dexy’. How’s it going, Dexy?” He looked back at Dodge. “Oh, and your little brother. Very cosy.”
“We didn’t do nothing wrong.” Dexy told him. “Just let us go, yeah?”
Outside the car, D.C. Palmer was searching Jim.
“Looks like you’ve been in the wars.” Mason said, looking over at me.
“It’s nothing.” I grunted, my hand instinctively reached up and touched the throbbing black eye that he had been referring to.
D.C. Palmer had found the gun and knife that Jim had been carrying. Constable Berry rushed around and stood behind Jim.
“Going to war, are you?” The Chief Inspector asked.
“Look,” Jim spoke softly, trying his best not to antagonise them. “It’s absolute hell out here. We need protection.”
“Do you have a license for this side arm, Sir?” The Chief Inspector already knew the answer but asked anyway.
“What?” Jim laughed at her. “No, I don’t have a fucking license. Are you people aware of what’s been happening?”
The Chief Inspector nodded her head at Constable Berry, who quickly turned his shotgun around and smashed the butt of it into the back of Jim’s head. Jim held his hand up to the fresh wound and turned around to face his attacker.
“You fucking c…” He was unconscious and on the ground before he could finish the sentence.
“Aw man, this is bullshit!” Dexy screamed, opening his door and jumping out of the car.
Constable Wood had both barrels of his shotgun pressed against the back of Dexy’s head in the space of a heartbeat.
“Give me an excuse, scumbag.” Wood hissed. “I will blow your brains all over this road.”
“Alright, Bruv.” Dexy sighed and raised his arms in submission. “Alright.”
I don’t really know why, but I took you, diary, out of my pocket and hid you in the space between my new prison and the back seat. The Chief Inspector and her group were not acting how I would expect the Police to act. The rest of us didn’t dare say a word, we just sat and hoped that we weren’t about to be shot down in cold blood. Barney had secreted himself under the driver’s seat of the car; I could see his shiny wet nose sticking out from the shadows.
“Right then, Ma’am.” Mason said to the Chief Inspector. “I’ll take a look at the gentleman in the back, there.” He thumbed in my direction.
“Carry on, D.I. Mason.” She smiled.
He strolled around and opened up the back of the Ford.
“Who is that?” He asked, pointing his pistol at the body of my Holly-monster.
“It’s my wife.” I explained.
Her wrists were still tied and she had a bloodied pillowcase over her head. Mason didn’t know the whole story so I’m guessing that this looked really, really bad.
“Dead body, back here, Ma’am.” He stared coldly at me. “Get out of the vehicle, please, Sir.”
I got out of the Ford and stood beside Mason. Gemma was still crying in the back seat and Travis looked to be frozen to the spot with fear. Dodge crouched forward with his head in his hands whispering something under his breath over and over; I couldn’t quite catch what he was saying but it sounded like “Don’t shoot us, don’t shoot us.”
All of the officers were crowded around me now, except for Wood, he kept his shotgun trained on Dexy. Oh, and the sniper was still by the Police cars, looking into his sights.
“Did you do this, Sir?” The Chief Inspector asked, waving her free hand in the direction of Holly’s body.
“She, she’d turned into one of those things.” I protested. “She was dangerous.”
“The Chief Inspector asked you a question.” Palmer said harshly. She stepped up to me, her face inches from mine. Suddenly I didn’t find her quite so attractive. “Did you kill this woman?”
Of course, I had, but she had changed into something that wasn’t my wife. They didn’t want to hear it, though.
“Yes or no?” Palmer insisted.
“Yes.” I admitted meekly, my head bowed.
“Sir, you are under arrest for the murder of your wife.” Mason told me my rights and handcuffed my hands behind my back.
“This is bang out of order!” Dexy yelled. “You can’t do this, you muppets!”
“Oh I think you’ll find that we can.” The Chief Inspector assured him. “Arrest him too, Constable Wood.”
“What?” Dexy sounded astonished at the prospect. “On what charge?”
The Chief Inspector walked up and stood in front of him, her thin lips twisted in a cruel, unforgiving grin. She was enjoying this.
“On the charge of being a hoodie lowlife.” She told him. “Put these two in a car, they’re coming back to the station.”
“What about the rest of ‘em, Ma’am?” Mason wanted to know.
“They can stay.” She pointed at the gun and knife that were on the car bonnet. “Confiscate those weapons, D.C. Palmer.”
As we were being roughly pushed into the back of a Police car I heard Dodge shouting to Dexy.
“I’ll find you, Dex.” He said. “Don’t worry!”
Gemma hadn’t said anything to me. Did she hate me now?
The Police cars speeded away, one of them carrying Dexy and myself. All I could think about was how to make it right with Gemma. How could I earn her forgiveness? What I should have been thinking about was how could I get away from these Police officers.
The Police car that we were in was being driven by D.C. Palmer, Mason was in the passenger seat.
“This ain’t right, man.” Dexy stated. “You should be helping us, not kidnapping us.”
“Getting arrested isn’t kidnap.” Mason replied, clearly agitated at the accusation of kidnap. I noticed Palmer look over at her colleague briefly, the slightest of glances before turning her attention back to the road. That slight glance spoke a thousand words to me, she wasn’t sure about this either.
“That’s bullshit, Bruv.” Dexy continued. “Those things out there, I watched them kill all my boys, the guys I grew up with.”
“What’s your point?” Mason asked.
“There’s more important things going on than locking me and William, here, in a cell.”
As they spoke I started to notice small groups of the infected. I hadn’t seen any since Dexy’s block of flats. I had hoped that the military found a way to eradicate them. They were disinterested in us and just meandered around like lost tourists.
“The thing is, Dexy,” Mason scratched his thick head of hair. “Even when Britain goes to hell, it needs law.” He pointed to the Police car in front of us. “The Chief Inspector,” He said, pausing a moment before continuing. “She knows what she’s doing.”
“So what?” Dexy spoke in a mocking tone. I tried to become invisible. “You’re her little puppets then?” He laughed. “She says shit and you jump on the shovel?”
Mason turned to face us both and raised his gun.
“If you don’t shut your nasty little mouth,” He warned. “I’ll shoot your kneecaps off and leave you on the side of the road.” He raised his eyebrows. “Got it?”
Dexy said nothing but just looked down at his feet. I caught Palmer’s gaze in the rear view mirror but she quickly looked away. I think she felt guilty. The problem being that not five minutes ago she had been screaming in my face so it could have all been fake or just my imagination. Still, I really hoped that she felt guilty because we definitely needed a friend.
Mason turned back around and uttered a self-satisfied “hmph.” sound.
We turned a corner and the car in front of us stopped. Palmer brought our car to a halt and looked back to see that the third Police car in our small convoy had also stopped. Mason grabbed the handheld Police radio that had been sitting on top of the dashboard.
“What’s going on?” He asked.
Some static replied and then a voice.
“Three bodies in the road.” It was the voice of the Chief Inspector.
I tried to get a look but couldn’t see much past the front Police car. The street itself was a normal residential street, houses on either side with gardens in the front. One of the gardens had an overturned car laying in it, the back wheels of which were still slowly turning. The garden directly to our right had huge bushes obstructing the view of the house. Other than the crashed car, everything seemed quiet, at least there weren’t any infected roaming around.
“Andrew and Shaun can move them.” Mason told the Chief Inspector.
I heard the doors of the car behind us open and slam closed. Wood and Berry walked past our car muttering about the unfairness of them having to drag bodies out of the road. Once they had reached the front car they crouched down and disappeared from view. I looked at the tall bushes again.
“Welcome to the world of shit rolling downhill, boys.” Mason chuckled to himself while watching the two officers head toward their task.
I saw something move in the bushes.
“There’s something…” I tried to warn D.I. Mason and his colleague.
“Shut it.” Mason didn’t want to hear it.
Dexy looked at me quizzically and then at the bushes. Another movement, like a shadow but more solid, more tangible.
Wood and Berry were busy at work clearing the road, they visibly struggled to carry the body of a very overweight woman. Wood had her arms and Berry held the legs. Her green dress was stained with blood and filth.
“There’s something over there, Bruv.” Dexy spoke quietly and inclined his head toward the tall bushes.
Mason and Palmer looked back at us both.
“Over whe…” Mason’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened before he could finish his sentence. “Fuck!”
A group of at least ten infected came racing out from behind the tall bushes, all of them chomping at the air and baying like hungry wolves. Mason opened the car door and stepped onto the road.
“Watch out!” He yelled at the top of his voice and then jumped straight back into the car and slammed the door closed.
Wood and Berry saw the ravenous group heading for them and unceremoniously dropped the body they were carrying onto the road. I saw Wood mouth the words “Oh my God.” before sprinting toward his car with Berry following closely behind. The problem with this direction was that that the infected were between the two Police officers and the salvation of their vehicle.
Two of the monsters leaped onto Wood and tackled him to the ground, he screamed out in pure terror as greedy teeth ripped into his flesh. More of the infected piled on him to join in the cannibalistic feast. Berry quickly sidestepped away from the grasp of another infected with all the grace and style of a professional rugby player. He ran around to the passenger side of our car and pulled open the back door.
“Move!” He screamed at Dexy who quickly shuffled his way closer to me, giving Berry room to sit down and slam the door shut.
The infected that weren’t attacking Wood had now turned their attention to our car and headed for us. The one in front of them all wore a Hoodie, the hood hiding its face in long shadows. It stood beside the car and stared into my window for what seemed like an eternity.
“We need to move, Detective Inspector.” The voice on the radio yelled.
The Chief Inspectors car sped off, tyres squealing in protest.
Wood stopped screaming and I saw blood burbling across his lips just as his eyes darkened with the merciful release of death.
I looked up at the infected Hoodie. Why was he staring at me? He just stood there watching me, watching all of us. The other infected stood behind him as though waiting for instruction. Palmer looked back at me and then at the group of monsters that had gathered beside our car.
“What’s he doing?” She asked.
None of us knew, all we could do was watch. The infected Hoodie held his arm out and pointed a long, bloodstained index finger at us. His lips were moving within the shadows of his hood, as though he were talking. I couldn’t hear any words, just low, guttural grunts and snarls. Every one of us were transfixed, unable to tear our attention away from this Hooded beast.
“Get out of there, Mason!” The Chief Inspectors voice boomed through the radio, shocking us all out of our almost hypnotic state.
As soon as her voice broke the silence inside the car, the infected that had been standing quietly behind their Hoodie leader now rushed at us, fists punched at the windows, teeth gnashed at the air. Palmer screamed out with panic as her window buckled in under the weight of an infected fist and a myriad of cracks spidered their way across the safety glass.
“Let’s go, Kate!” Mason yelled.
Kate Palmer didn’t wait to be told again, she swerved to avoid the bodies in the road and we were soon racing along at what felt like the speed of sound.
“An ambush.” I said the words beneath my breath, to myself.
“They killed Andy.” Berry said mournfully.
“I know, mate.” Mason rubbed his forehead. “I know.” He repeated.
“They ambushed us.” I said, louder this time for everyone to hear. “They put bodies in the road and waited.”
“Don’t talk stupid!” Mason retorted. “They can’t think clearly.” He sounded like he had almost convinced himself. “They can’t talk, they can’t make a nice cup of tea, and they most certainly can not set traps.”
“But they did.” I said softly. “That <em>was</em> a trap. You saw the Hoodie, we all did. He was communicating with them.”
“Look, just shut your mouth, you’re talking bollocks.” Mason shouted. He then looked at Palmer. “Get us back to the Station, Kate.” He told her. “So we can sort this out.”
“Right.” Palmer said coldly.
It wasn’t long before we saw the Chief Inspector’s car driving in front of us.
“Good to see you’re okay.” Her voice said through the radio speaker. “Did Constable Wood make it out?” She sounded almost hopeful.
“No.” Mason replied. “They killed him, Ma’am.”
There was silence for long moments before the Chief Inspector spoke again.
“I see.” She said. “We’ll regroup at the station.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Mason placed the radio back up on top of the dashboard and sat back into his seat with a long, deep sigh.
“This is all kinds of fucked up, Bruv.” Dexy whispered in my direction. I nodded in agreement.
My thoughts returned to Gemma, Dodge and Jim. I hoped that they had gone back to the shop or found another safe place. If they were still stranded in the middle of the road with Jim injured, then anything could happen. In spite of all my thoughts regarding Jim, I needed him to keep my daughter safe.
“Home sweet home.” Mason nodded his head in silent approval of his words.
The Police station loomed before us, a huge building of concrete and bars. The Chief Inspector’s car pulled up outside the main entrance and both her and sniper cop got out and waited for us. Mason was the first out when we had parked up.
“What the hell happened?” The Chief Inspector asked.
“They came out of nowhere, Ma’am.” Mason told her.
Palmer helped me out of the car and Berry gave Dexy some help, albeit a little rougher.
“I want those two in a cell, put them in number five.” The Chief Inspector said to Palmer while waving absently in the direction of Dexy and myself.
“Yes, Ma’am.” Palmer said obligingly. She then pushed us both towards the entrance. “Let’s move it.” She barked.
“Then we all need to have a talk.” The Chief Inspector added. “In my office.”
All the officer’s nodded their heads in agreement and headed inside.
Palmer split off from the rest of them and frogmarched us towards the cell block.
“Kate, is it?” I asked.
“D.C. Palmer to you.” She snapped while opening the barred gate of the cell block.
“D.C. Palmer, then.” If she could have looked into my eyes she would have seen my best puppy dog expression, alas, she was behind me. “You know you shouldn’t be locking us up.” I appealed. “We could help each other, our group could come and join you all.”
“Yeah, like safety in numbers, right?” Dexy interjected,
“Exactly.” I agreed. “Please, don’t do this. Don’t lock us away.”
“Look.” She said. “I have to follow orders.”
“No.” I argued. “No, you don’t.”
“It’s a chain of command.” She stepped in front of us and opened a cell door. “You need to speak with the Chief Inspector.”
She unlocked our handcuffs and pushed us into the cell, slamming the door behind us.
“Well you tell her I’d like a chat, then.” I shouted.
“I will.” She turned the key and the lock snapped into place. Her footsteps grew fainter as she walked back down the hall and then closed the main gate and locked it behind her.
Dexy kicked the cell door, the sound bounced noisily down the hallway.
“This is a load of crap, Bruv!” He yelled. “They’re out of order!”
We both fell silent when we heard the groaning and scraping sounds coming from some of the other cells on the block. The sound quickly turned into a cacophony of howling and snarling.
“They,” I could barely believe what I was about to ask. “They’ve got those things in here?”
“Sounds like it, Bruv.” Dexy slumped down onto the stone bench that ran along the left side wall of our cell and buried his head in his hands. “These arseholes are all kinds of messed up.”
I sat down next to him.
“Maybe the others will find us.” I tried to sound hopeful, to sound as though I believed it. “Maybe they’ll reason with the Chief Inspector, convince her to let us go.”
“Nah, Bruv.” Dexy responded dolefully and eyed me with cold certainty. “We’re on our own in here.”
He was right.
We were on our own.