I suppose I have a decision to make. I can stay here and not listen to whatever Dee is going to say, and I think that she is going to get Max to talk, or I can follow them. I don’t know. It would be great if I could put Max on a perfect pedestal. He is a big bear of a man and to say I’m not attracted would be a lie. I’m just not certain I will like him after his confession. Staring at the floor I notice that we have tracked some dirt in. I get fixated, not thinking about anything. If only this were a nightmare.

“Bitsy?” Max has come back and is standing in front of me, a concerned expression on his face. “Are you okay?”

I didn’t even notice that he had come in. I nod and swallow, my mouth suddenly dry.

“Come on then,” he says.

I nod. How do I explain to someone that I don’t want to hear the bad stuff because I want to like them? A small voice reminds me that the world has changed and you need to know the truth. That the future may be a lonely one.

I follow Max.

In the canteen Dee has taken the table furthest from the door. The banging has stopped and it concerns me. At least when it was hammering on the door I knew where it was. I stop and stare at the grey paint. Max stands next to me.

“I don’t like not knowing where it is,” I say quietly.

“I know,” Max agrees.

“I’m over here,” Dee says, her voice oozing sarcasm.

I’m not sure I’d like her if I met her under normal circumstances. But then these aren’t normal.

Walking over I give a hesitant smile. She doesn’t return it.

Max and I sit. I notice he decides to sit at the end of the table so that he can see both of us and the door. I have my back to it, but I realise that I am comfortable because Max can see it. When did I start to trust this man?

“You were in the air when it happened.” She pauses and I notice that her face is haggard. She can’t be much older than me but she seems much older with dark circles under her eyes.

“It spread from the airport. Someone came from Vienna and they had it…” Dee looks at us. I didn’t tell her where we had flown from and there is no way I’m going to tell her now. “It spread like flu, but very fast. You died within two hours of getting it. Except some didn’t die. Instead they become something else.”

“Do they retain anything of themselves?” Max asked.

“I don’t know. But the problem is that they can’t make vitamin D or retain iron, so they crave blood.” She winced. I wonder if she is remembering something, but I don’t ask. “They attack you because they have to. They have no choice…” She trails off.

“What about the sun?” I ask, thinking of the two we saw outside.

“It’s what happens. We aren’t sure why, but they become light sensitive and…”

I nod. “We saw outside.”

She nods.

Max leans forward. “Why aren’t you…?” He waves his hand at the door.

Dee shrugs. “Some are immune. We didn’t catch it. But we can still get it.” She pauses. “Any scratch or bite can pass on the virus.”

“Virus?” Max asks, but all I can think of is Colin. That’s why she was insistent on locking him up.

“No antibiotics work,” Dee says, but I am only half hearing her. Instead, I wonder what is happening to Colin, and how we are going to find out. If we open the door and he has changed then one scratch would infect us.

I snap out of my thoughts. Both of them are looking at me. Dee blankly and Max appears worried. On the table in front of me I realise I have locked my hands together and my knuckles are white with the pressure of clasping them.

“I’m okay,” I whisper.

“Max is about to explain what he knows,” Dee says. I feel as if I have been caught daydreaming in class and a wave of unease flows over me. I turn and look at him. He doesn’t meet my eyes.


About Kate

Kate Murray has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing and is currently working as an illustrator and writer. Her first anthology of short stories ‘The Phantom Horse’ was published in December 2013 and she subsequently has had another anthology published by Raging Aardvark; “Love Just Is” looks at the truth of love, in all its guises from romantic to obsessive. She is currently working on an anthology of ghost stories which should be published at the end of October 2014 and is also writing her first novel. Kate runs two blogs, one is about her life as a writer (kate0murray.wordpress.com) and the other is a serialisation of a novel, “The Gone”; a disaster hits the world while Bitsy is on a flight from Italy. She lands to find that the world is completely altered and she must learn to survive in a place where everyone is not who they appear to be (thegone.wordpress.com). Kate has had short stories published in magazines and e-zines, including ‘The Lampeter Review’, ‘Jotter’s United’, and ‘What The Dickens’. She has had short stories included in the ‘Twisted Tales 2013’ anthology published by Raging Aardvark, and the ‘Busker Anthology’ and ‘Spooky Tales Anthology’ published by What the Dickens. Kate’s artwork has been exhibited at the Museum Of Modern Art in Machynlleth where she was selected after entering the art competition and at Aberglasney Gardens as part of the Mid Wales Art group. Her artwork has been published by companies from Norway to Australia and her latest works will have illustrations in it. She has also had a series of line drawings published by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust in their biodiversity action plan. Kate currently works in the foothill of the Cambrian Mountains where she has a purpose built workshop that she affectionately calls her ‘house’ as she spends far more time in there than anywhere else.
This entry was posted in Chapter 5 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Explanations

  1. Kate says:

    Reblogged this on Kate Murray and commented:

    The last of Chapter 5 – Can Dee explain everything?

  2. ditchthebun says:

    Can’t wait to find out what Max has to say. Interesting twist with Colin, can’t decide whether he was a bad guy or not though. Really what he did was the best way to ensure their survival, but morally it was wrong.

    • Kate says:

      Exactly… Colin was just trying to survive but does that make him bad? And is he now out of the story? I have a feeling that he is going to make an entrance later… And then there is Max. Is he the baddie?

      • ditchthebun says:

        That’s what I can’t decide, but does wanting to survive mean you should remove that part of your humanity that wants to help those in need or in danger? I have a feeling he will make a comeback too 🙂

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