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Rated: 13+ · Novella · Dark · #1985474
The lights went out...the virus wiped out 80% of the population. What would you do?

Maybe the choices we make are interdependent. Or maybe they disappear into a sea of crystal ice and despair. I've learnt not to regret anything, however difficult it prevails to be.

I was only young. Young enough that my ignorance could be excused and glossed over.

My name is Elektra.

I am 19 years old.

I hadn't even been born when the world fell into darkness.

They talk very little of the day the lights went out; it is almost as if the world underwent a mind wipe, removing any memory of that day. Well, it seems more interesting that way I think. You know stupid conspiracies about little green men in spaceships with futuristic technology powerful enough to destroy the planet. Even these days people believe that Taurus faeces.

My parents talked about their theories a lot. They believed it was some kind of retribution from some cloud deity. They were kind of religious fanatics or something; I don't know, whatever it used to be called. That was before they went. Went or died; is there any difference between them now? The answer to that is a resounding no. They're dead. They're dead and I have accepted that; I was only young when they disappeared into the great abyss that is the world. They left me so why the hell should I give a damn whether they still travel this mortal coil?

I'm not being harsh. I don't think I am. They left a nine year old child to fend for herself in this world, without any form of protection and not even a pot in which to piss.

The world in which I live is different from the old world, from what I can gather. After the power lines died on the day of darkness, humanity fell into chaos. I mean people began to insane, murdering people for generators and for any form of energy that would restore their gadgets and gizmo’s. People began to try and restore the power lines to no avail.

However, people decide to move into the cities from the countrysides, which lead to the overpopulation of the cities. When the virus came, poor buggers didn't stand a chance against it. Everyone was so close. So close. If it had been a bacterial infection, they still would have been screwed due to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. At least that's what I think. Me and the rest of the living population, I guess.

Looking out of the window, it's a pretty sorry sight to be honest. Most of the buildings have fallen into disrepair. Their foundations cracked into minuscule particles and debris everywhere. It's difficult to imagine a world where there were not buildings falling to pieces on every street. It's almost possible to see dust spores floating away from the scene, as if snowflakes from the sky. I sometimes wonder what it must be like for those who were born before the death of society. They have a comparison. Something to yearn for and memories of a better time. A well on which to draw.

Oh god, I sound so pedantic.

This flat's not too bad I guess. I could have got a lot worse from the department but I guess being a star pupil had and continues to have its advantages.

The flat stinks. It stinks of putrefied fish and stale cigarettes. When Erin, my key worker, first introduced me to this monstrosity I gagged. Nowadays, I'm lucky to have this place so I don't tend to complain too much because I'm always reminded how lucky I am and that I should be grateful to not be on the streets. That is a good point. The décor is typically garish, with damp stained yellow chequered wallpaper in every room. It looks like someone has 'phlegmed' on the wall. It's vile but it's almost comforting in some respect. I feel like that woman in that novella about insanity and yellow wallpaper. I can't remember what it's called...oh yes, The Yellow Wallpaper. I commend the author on her imaginative title. I'm kidding, kind of. Well...anyway that is not important.

All of the furniture had been subject to fire damage and general ageing. The wood has begun to rot and there is a painting about a vase that no long exists. Just a gold frame stands where a canvas image should occupy. In the bedroom, the bed is tattered and the duvet ripped. To be honest, the duvet is covered in all kinds of stuff. I mean urine, crap, blood (I do not want to imagine where the hell that came from) and a substance that I am pretty sure is vomit. I hope it's vomit. Vomit is a best case scenario, that's not a statement you hear often. There have been a few times where I have sat down and thought how many people died in that bed? How many people died, gasping for breath and calling out for someone or something?

To think about that is not right. To think about that is not decent and could drive me into physical insanity. I'm done with that kind of useless crap; I am alive, that's all that matters to me. Should matter.

The doorbell doesn't ring often. So whenever it does, it breaks my chain of thought. What I actually mean is that the doorbell is so ancient that it will only work on occasion. I haven't replaced the battery in weeks and that thing was decrepit anywhere. So when it does ring, I get slightly worried because it means that someone has hammered the crap out of it to work or, I prefer  this option, the stupid, bloody thing has decided that it likes me today. I walk over to the door, which I must say is barely attached to its battered hinges. I never like the feeling of opening doors; it must stem from some traumatic memory of school or something but, I still hate it. Solitude is my only salvation. I relish in it. That is not strange, I am not strange.

As I open the door I can't hide my disdain. Roman.

“Hey Ellie, I have not been able to stop thinking about your beautiful face and your endless scruples...”

“What do you want, you dickhead?”

I don't mean to be snappy but my tolerance only serves me to an extent. Roman and I have never seen eye to eye. This may be partially down to the fact that he is 6ft 4 and I am a regular height at 5ft 5. However, I don't want to agree with him on anything. He is a misogynistic, narcissistic bastard with about as much personality as a cadaver. So I am rather indifferent towards him. Sarcasm fully intended.

“Ah, did someone wake up on the wrong side of the mattress? Aw don't scowl at me like that princess. You know you love me really.” He flashes me his most charming grin, as he always does when he wants something badly enough.

“First thing, I slept in the armchair so it is not possible for me to wake up on the wrong side. Second thing, call me 'princess' again, I will not be responsible for your injuries. What do you want Marius? No offence but I want to spend as little time in your presence as is possible.” I say with a tone of unmistakable spite.

“Really, all that hostility. My poor heart. I was just wondering...if you happened to have a first aid kit. One of the girls fell. Lot of blood. I have it all under control of course but I would appreciate the kit.” The smile does nothing but irk me.

You probably think that he's a decent guy, that I am being too harsh on him because after all, he gets off his arse and looks after the youth, right? He only does that to suck up to his boss; he's hoping by doing a good deed he'll be recruited for the research team which he has been rebuffed from many times already. He genuinely believes he will be the one to discover a cure for the virus and he will save the Earth. This is exactly why he deserves the title of narcissistic git of the decade.

“You know, first aid kits are extremely valuable these days. You want my kit, I'm coming with you. It is not leaving my sight. Comprende?”

“Of course, even better. Come along my dear; patrol starts in five.”

“I'm not your 'dear', dickhead.” I mutter.

He's so unctuous he makes my skin crawl.

                                                              Chapter 2

If the view from the inside was bad, walking through is abysmal.

The constant smell of rotting corpses, dust and disinfectant.

If the smell wasn't overpowering enough, the blood covered walls and floors certainly are. It's like living in a blood soaked world which makes my dingy little flat seem like blessed sanctuary.

“When was the last time you left the flat?”

“About a month ago; I went for a massive haul for supplies before the storm picked up and I had no occasion to leave. I was quite enjoying being alone until you reared your ugly head.”

“Aw, don't be like that. You know you only insult me because you want me.”

“Shut up. Dumb-ass”


We always go through this routine whenever we are stuck together. He tries to flirt with me and I shoot him down like an infected. Many of the people at the camp believed that Roman and I would end up together. You know, settle down and raise a family during the end of days.

How bloody pedantic.

We walk quickly.

England did always have a reputation for being the rainiest country in Europe; it still lives up to its reputation after all this time.

I never liked the rain. Even as child. While other children when out playing and splashing around in puddles, I was perfectly happy to just sit and watch under shelter. This may have been one of the reasons why the other kids were always so cautious about me; I wasn't exactly the definition of a normal child. I was pensive and lonely, not vibrant and playful.

I am completely freezing; another reason I hate the rain. The rain feels piercing against my skin. Even my jacket can't keep me warm any more which means I need to chuck it away. Crap.

“I starting to think you were on to something Ellie. Staying inside. Out of the rain and sleet and snow.” I hate a man that can make himself laugh.

“Yeah, I'm a genius. You should have established this by now.”

“I wouldn't go quite that far dear. You're nearly there but not quite at my level yet. Don't worry, I'll get you to that level one day.” He giggles. Complete and utter dick head.

“Oh yes, of course. You are a genius but we all know what you think with, don't we?” Oh yes, I win.

“Touché. Touché.”

We finally reach the old civic office. It became a base about a year back and, it serves its purpose. It contains tonnes of files about the old days and proposals for what to do when stuff went bad. They actually believed that they could survive everything. Arrogant bastards, thinking they were above everything. We found a few of their festering corpses when it was discovered. They must have been dead for a number of years; it scared the crap out of the kids.

I can hear the kid screaming from here. How stupid can you get? Talking is dangerous enough these days and all this kid is doing is drawing attention which puts everyone at risk. It does frustrate me but then again, I don't like children anyway.  I never have and never will.

As soon as we walk into the meeting room, the culprit becomes apparent. Little Annie Stoker. Maybe I should give the girl a break, she's only just turned 12. She's so small for age; at her age, I was a lot taller and I had more of an athletic build. She is tiny and is just a sack of bones which is a dangerous thing in this world. In addition her injury does look moderately bad, I guess. Almost half of the skin on her leg is missing and her other leg lies at an odd angle.

When I broke my leg, I didn't cry or scream out. I was 10 years old. I had snuck out to go on a supply run, I was trying to rebel and prove that I wasn't just a defenceless child. I was a stupid bitch then; I should have relished in my youth but then again, in this world being stupid and a child gets you or others killed.

Anyway, I was scoping out this old supermarket that sat at the end of this dead end road. It was quiet, as always, and there was a back window that led directly to the stock room which had been pillaged over the years. However, there was still some medical supplies and food rations so it was worth the risk. There was a rusty ladder always propped up against the window; I had done this before and I had been fine, the ladder had always been secure. That day, not so much. I was just about to climb in through the window and the ladder fell, shattering like glass when it fell. I couldn't pull myself through the window. I thought I was going to die. I was about 20 ft above the ground. I tried and tried to muster the strength to no avail.

I had to let go. I was stupid and reckless so I deserved to die. The fall was fast so I didn't have time to think, just to fall. The feeling of falling was almost liberating, it was like flying but with a more permanent destination. I didn't want to land but gravity is a bitch. I heard the crack of bone and felt the searing pain of both a broken limb and a shard of the rusty ladder piercing my back. For a moment, I thought I had been paralysed. I thought that I was going to die at the age of 10 after trying to prove I was a grown up but I lived. I slowly repositioned myself onto my stomach and tried to muster a slow crawl. It was agonising and every move I made, I felt the shard digging its way into my back and my leg cracking but I had to continue, I couldn't stop.

  The only thought in my mind was: “Oh crap, John is going to be so pissed. Maybe I should just let myself bleed out because the lecture I am going to get is going to tremendous.” I know ever the voice of optimism, even as a child. The shard, due to the fact it was so rusty, should have given me tetanus in addition to the lovely tear across my spine. I guess I got lucky in that respect. When I finally made it to an old bench that lie in front of the store front, I finally examined my leg. There was little I could do about my back with out killing myself or having eyes in the back of my head. My leg was a bloody mess. My bone was sticking out and blood was soaking my jeans. I had to sit and think about my next move. I noticed a stick at the foot of the bench; it was the only way I could attempt to walk back to the camp. What I did was reckless, impulsive and doltish so I needed to be lectured. To be perfectly, I was in too much pain to focus on the minute details.

When I made it back to the camp I went straight to Rita, the camp nurse, and she tended to my wounds, using antiseptic to try and stop me from dying of an infection.

I had never seen John so angry. I was lucky I to ever leave the compound again.

Annie just continues to sit there, wailing. I almost feel sorry for her but I cannot allow sentimentality to overwhelm me. I didn't have to be there; I'm only here for the safety of my medical kit.

“Hey Annie, you're going to be alright now. Ellie and I are here with bandages, antiseptic and paracetamol. Let's do this.” Roman always has had a way with kids; he's always known how to calm children down. He bends down to inspect the wound. It is obvious from here that there is no compound fracture, just a broken bone which makes matters easier. He gently touches her leg.

“We need to bind the leg and then attach a splint so we can get her back to camp. Ellie, could you bandage her up?”

“Yeah, I guess. Do you have a splint?”

“Don't worry, I'm on it buttercup. Lucy, could you go and get a stick from outside, preferably quite tall? Thank you honey.”

Lucy Tailor. Reckless and totally infatuated with Roman, which is slightly paedophilic considering she is 13 and he is 22. I think she would follow him to the ends of the Earth; he says he doesn't notice but I think he just enjoys the attention.

I sit down and take the bandages out of my rucksack. They aren't in the best condition but they will do; I always get nervous at this point in case I do something wrong. I can do this and I can do this with as little pain as possible for both people involved.

“You ready Elektra?”

I guess I'm going to have to be.

                                                                      Chapter 3

After filling Annie up with enough Valerian to knock out a horse, it was peaceful. Too quiet. All of the other kids are just sitting; they're in shock which is natural. I'm not in shock because I'm detached, which I've always admitted. When I see people dying on the street, I just walk on by. When people have begged me for help, I have turned away in the interest of self preservation. I'm a cold hearted bitch and maybe that's why I hate Roman so much.

We carry Annie back to base camp; there's barely anything of her and it feels as if she is getting lighter by the second. The only comparison I can give is like carrying a rag doll. A rag doll with a broken leg. Roman keeps looking over at me; I think he wants me to do something. React in some way whether it is crying or puking or destroying something. The normal reactions when something bad happens. I couldn't even cry when my parents didn't come home. When I was ripped away from my home. When I killed my first infected.

“You okay? You did good back there. I never knew Rita taught you how to apply a tourniquet? You are just full of surprises, ain't ya.”

“There are a lot of things you don't know. I used to help Rita in the medical bay whenever I had spare time, she wanted me to replace her if something happened. I used to spurt off bull about her living forever. Let's face it if something happens, she'll be the first to die.”

“What the hell? Seriously Ellie, how can you say that? Rita has always been there for you and you can say something so callous? You really are a bitch!”

“Shut up. You want an argument, wait until we get back. We are not fighting in front of the kids. There are more important things at the moment like Annie, she's still not safe. So just...shut...up.”

“Fine. This isn't over. I cannot believe you sometimes you know that, you bloody ice maiden.”

It isn't harsh or callous. Rita is a doctor so it stands to reason that if there is an outbreak, she will die. She's not strong or a fighter. She's smart, incredibly intelligent but that is not enough. I'm not ashamed to say, if she became infected, I would put a bullet in her brain without thinking about it. It's the kindest thing.

Once we get to the camp, I'm taken aback. Nothing's changed. There is still a roaring fire visible by the open window. Lines of fresh linen possessing the garden like the first fall of snow. It looks so out of place, with its surroundings. It reminds me why I could ever call it home. It doesn't even look like a camp. The building used to be a care home before everything went to hell. Oh, the irony kills me too.

“Well, if I had a pound for everytime I came out here to see you two, I'd be a millionaire. But then again, I ain't got no use for that anymore, eh?”

  A small, Asian woman waits in the doorway. Rita, chief medic and all round mother figure. She looks tired.

“Rita, how are you darling? Elektra and I were just talking about you, weren't we dear?”

“Oh really, all good I hope. Why were you talking about me? You know it makes me suspicious.”

“Nothing, it's not important, is it Roman? We were just discussing how we need you to check over Annie. Hence why we're carrying her. And we're covered in blood. That's was the hint.” Rita is the only one who gets my sarcasm; heck, she taught me everything I know about being a sarcastic mare.

“Well, I am getting blind in my old age. A tourniquet, I'm impressed. You did learn something from me then.”

Looking at her sickens me. It's been four months since I last saw her and she seems to look worse.

The black bags underneath her eyes have become darker. She probably hasn't slept in weeks. Her skin sagging, her crow's feet more pronounced. She walks with a cane. It's obvious that she has been smoking like a chimney recently, which means something bad has happened. Probably to one of the kids. She swore to me she would stop; even the end of days is not an excuse to bugger up your lungs. There's enough things out there to make you suffer with out having your body fight against you. I hate what she does to herself.

Roman and I carry Annie through to the living room where an operating table lay, complete with a saline drip and a trolley full with medical apparatus. It's not a lot but it's kept everyone alive at the camp, for the moment at least. Watching Rita with a patient is like watching a duck in water. She's in her element with a scalpel in her hand.

“Still going on the basis you would kill her?”

“I have to be prepared to. We all do. It's the only thing we would have the power to do. Roman, if the infection enters this camp, everyone will die. I've seen it before and so have you. You can't be ignorant to that fact; you will have to kill her if something happens.”

“I know, I know. I am prepared, kind of. But the way you say it, it's like you don't even care. I envy the way you can just detach yourself from everything. Not feel pain or anything. Why the hell do I envy you? A cold Jezebel?”

I'm sure I can see tears, streaming down his face in the light of the fire. It's so strange for me to see a fully grown man, crying. Men are supposed to be strong but Roman...he's so different to them. He may be a fighter but he feels. He cares.

“First time I've been called a Jezebel. God, are you crying? Are you sure you're not the one with a vagina?” I pause. “ You shouldn't envy me. I hate being the way I am; you think not feeling anything is a blessing? It's not. It's like I'm not human anymore; I would love to feel more but I can't because it hurts even more when you lose them because everyone dies eventually. That's why I can say that I can kill her.”

I walk away.

This is one of the only times I have ever confided in Roman. Huh, I guess that tragedy does bring people together. It's a cliché but like all the best ones, it's true.

When I enter the first room at the top of the stairs, emotion overwhelms me. My old bedroom, exactly as I left it. Books on the desks, torch with its batteries scattered across the floor. My 12” inch blade. John kept it the same; he didn't let another one of the kids take my room. It's almost as if he was waiting for me to come back eventually. It's just the little things that get to me; John does care about me in some regard.

  Silence pervades the air like a pariah.

It's at this moment, I feel so alone. The thing is I do care. I do what has to be done but it does hurt. The prospect of the only parental figures I have really ever known terrifies me; I can't lose John or Rita, it would destroy me completely. See, I'm not entirely sick in the head.

I can feel my eyes welling up.

I feel emotionally exhausted and I just want to forget.

Forget Roman. Forget Rita and John. Forget the world.

But I can't. The only way I can is to shot up or end it all. I could just take the blade and slice my jugular. How can I do that? Have one of the girls come in to find me, bathing in a pool of my own blood. The poor buggers are scarred enough already with out finding an old room-mate topping herself.

The first tear rolls down my cheek. I never allow myself to feel so weak, at the mercy of emotion but I can't control myself. I can't stop the tears flowing and it's not long until I start hyperventilating. I cannot cope.

There's only so far being the tough little soldier gets you and it's not far enough.

                                                                      Chapter 4

The morning brings with it a sense of solemness. I must have cried myself to sleep; just like I did when I was a child. On a positive note, I now feel numb which is better than feeling the ache of loss and clarity. I don't know if I can face going downstairs, seeing the kids. Seeing Rita and John. Seeing Roman.

I finally gain the strength to get up. I look in the cracked mirror that hangs crookedly  in the corner of the room.

I look like crap. My eyes are puffy and my face is smeared with blood; I must have rubbed my face during the night. I look like hell. My hair is sticking up in many different directions. My eyes. Even though my eyes make me look like a pig, my eyes are still piercing. Everyone used to comment on my eyes; my eyes are bright green with flecks of grey around the pupil. My best attribute according to Roman; they suit my ice queen persona.

I enter the bathroom and fill up the sink; it can't be later than 6 am, meaning I have time before the kids wake up. My appearance is like a deranged savage. The cold water cleanses my skin; I haven't realised how warm I am and the freshness of the water feels like being reborn. I can be pedantic too.

  After scraping the last of the blood off of my face with a rough flannel, I head downstairs. My god, I am hungry and I ache; the bed did always used to kill my back. I try to make my footsteps as soft as possible, trying not to wake anyone but it was useless. John was waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

I move slowly, his eyes following me, studying me. I am anxious to approach him but then again, I shouldn't be. His grey eyes seem to stare into my soul. Finally his gravelly undertones begin to make their appearance.

“Now, what the hell do you think you're doing, madam?”

I run down the stairs at him; my chest aches with longing. I have missed him so much. He is the closest thing I have ever had to a proper father, well at least, the only father I have really ever known. He takes me in his arms and embraces me. I have missed his musk and his strong grip. He was the reason it was a little harder to leave the camp, he didn't want me to leave but he wanted me to be safe and protected. I think he understood that the safest thing for me is to be by myself. But I have still missed him the most out of anyone.

“You know the usual, getting into as much trouble as possible. Would you expect anything else from me, you old git?”

“Walk with me, Lecci. I'll get you caught up on everything you've missed. You've lost weight and have you got taller or have I shrunk? Come along goose.”

“No, you've shrunk. What have I missed?”

We walk through and sit on the chairs that lay in the kitchen. Cobwebs still cling to the ceiling and there are still numerous cracks in the marble counter tops.


“I could kill for it, thanks.”

John gets up and turns the tap on. It takes a while before the water flows through the pipes.

The pipes always make a weird gurgling sound when water flows. I always used to think that was the sound of a monster that was coming to get me, to kill me. Those were the days when I was still so naïve. Monsters do exist but not in the conventional form. They exist in all of us. Sometimes they lie dormant for years and other times, they appear from birth. We're all monsters.

“Roman bring you here? Sometimes I think that boy just looks for an excuse to be with you. I know he does, you shouldn't tease him.”

He breaks into a real belly laugh, from the gut. He knows that it embarrasses us both, he was the one who thought we'd be shagging by the time I was 17. How bloody wrong he was.

“Yeah, Annie got hurt. He needed help applying the tourniquet. And I know he does; I am just that desirable ,right?”

“Well, the boy seems to think so. I've always thought he wants to bang you like a drum...”

“Could we please change the subject? I do believe I am blushing. You know what a massive prude I am...that's why you're doing this, you bastard. Anyway, how's Annie? She was out last I saw of her, Rita was working her magic.”

“It's difficult, she's still asleep. The break was pretty bad, not as bad as yours was but pretty close. We've been running low on food recently so we are all pretty weak, it's difficult to know if she is strong enough. She'll probably be fine but there is still that chance.”

“Oh I see. At least you're honest. Why didn't you tell me? I could have gone on a run for you, make sure there were enough supplies. Why didn't you tell me?”

“There was no point, goose. Runs are becoming more dangerous and I thought we had enough to keep us going if I missed meals and I mean...Rita had her cigarettes so she wasn't eating. I'm sorry, it's my fault if something happens to her...if she's not strong enough...like Isla...”

Silence reigns. I don't know what to say to John; he's a proud man who doesn't ask for help. I have always looked up to him; admired his strength but this reminds me how vulnerable he is. He's not as young as he used to be; he's turning 60 soon. He's no longer the youthful man of action who didn't need guidance or pity.

The whistling of the kettle is the only thing that breaks the silence.

“What happened to Isla, John?”

“She got sick. Came into contact with the infected somehow. Rita had to put her down, put her out of her misery. Maybe if she'd have been stronger, she might have fought it off...”

“No, don't you dare say that! Nobody fights the virus off John. No one ever survives, they just become weaker and sicker and more pathetic. There was nothing that could have been done and there is no point in blaming yourself for something that is that far out of your control.”

It's pathetic reassurance but it's all I can muster. Isla was his niece. His own daughter had died early in  the days of darkness. She was one of the first John knew who perished due to the virus, the first being his wife. Isla was a year younger than me. She was only a baby when her parents were murdered for a small quantity of tinned fruit and powdered milk. John raised her as his own, trying to protect her from the inevitable. He has lost more than any of us. Now that Isla's gone, I don't know how he will cope and that frightens me.

I don't know what to say. Most people would say 'I'm sorry for your loss' or some other cliché, as if it's their fault. My relationship with John has never permitted that; he doesn't want sympathy or any bull.

“One sugar, you still like it like that, don't you? I forget these things. God I miss having milk in coffee; I've been thinking maybe trying to find a cow or something. We've got enough room in the back garden. What do you think?”

“Yeah, yeah good idea. John, you don't have to pretend you're okay. I know you better than that; Isla meant the world to you, she meant a lot to all of us. Why didn't Roman tell me about it?”

“I am okay, as I've always said, everyone dies and we have to be prepared for that. I don't think he wants to accept it. They were close in her last few weeks and I think they genuinely connected in some way. He pretends he's okay but everything is starting to get to him. He wasn't born for this world but then again no one is.”

Roman and Isla had always been close. Isla was a conventional beauty with wavy blonde hair and pale blue eyes while Roman was the tall, dark and handsome stereotype. I'm not denying the fact he is attractive; he has dark brown shoulder length hair and honey coloured eyes. It was almost like they were perfect for each other and they seemed to compliment each other, personality wise. She was naïve and stubborn while he was open minded and courageous, a real hero to her. When he wasn't chasing me like a little lost puppy, he would spend most of his time talking to her and to be honest, I think getting his leg over on her but that was never confirmed. Isla's death should devastate him to the core but why wouldn't he say anything to me; she was like, I use the term loosely, a friend to me.

John and I sit, just drinking our coffee in silence. It's true what he says, that everyone dies and we have to be prepared. I mean I live by it but I know he doesn't believe it really, which makes it even more painful.

A pair of footsteps and a tuneless whistle break the silence. Trust Roman to be the one to break a dramatic pause. On the upside, he's perked up since last night, probably trying to forget everything that has happened. However, his eyes are still puffy like mine. There's no way to hide his little masculine breakdown last night.

“Ah John, Ellie and how are we this fine morning?”

“...Alright. Since when are you this chirpy at 7 am, boy? I usually have to use the ice bucket method to drag you from your bed. Is it because of our little visitor?”

“I'm getting taller than you, old man. I'm sure it's nothing to do with me, right Roman?”

“Of course it is, I'm always chirpy when surrounded by my ladies. Ah, you brewed coffee, this is why you are my favourite person Johnny.”

“Call me Johnny again, I'll beat your arse you idjit. Get a cup and sit yourself down...and put your tongue back in your mouth, you'll attract flies.”

I do love the way John doesn't take any crap from Roman; I'm starting to see where I get it from. Ha, I got it from life, I don't need to blame my glorified mentor.

It is amazing how he can pretend like nothing has ever happened; I envy that. I catch Roman staring at me with an unfamiliar expression. Oh god, I think it's pity. Oh that is sickening, the only thing stopping me punching him is the fact that Isla is dead; she was always a pacifist. That's the reason she's dead. She resigned herself to just letting things happen which is suicide, signing over any power you have over your own life.

  I cannot stand people pitying me, like I'm pathetic or weak. I'm not and I hate people treating me like I am. Maybe I should be less defensive about things but I cannot stand the silent shout of 'you deserve my pity and sympathy'. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

John senses something. I know he does; he is a good judge of people and interaction. It's not possible to be warring and for John not to have the intuition to figure it out. He winks at me, as if to say he knows what is going on.

“Alright, 'fess up. What's going on? I may not be the brains of Britain but you kids aren't discreet. Come on, I do love a bit of gossip.”

“Nothing Johnny, I'm just gazing upon the face of an angel. Nothing more, doesn't she look radiant today?”

“Flattery never gets you anywhere, boy. Now what's really going on and cut the crap.”

“It doesn't matter; we just had a conflict of opinions, last night. Nothing important, right Ellie?”

“Yeah, nothing important. Water under the bridge.”

“Alright, I'll get it out of you at some point. Now, you going to stay here and scrounge food or are you going to earn your keep?”

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