The town was empty apart from two people. Their silhouettes cut striking figures on the pavement, warped in form by numerous pot holes.
Jill stroked a nearby street sign in an absent minded fashion. The wood was split down the middle, splintering the directions into meaningless gibberish but she hardly noticed. She was trying to blink away the images of what they’d seen earlier that day as they had searched the place.
“There’s no one here Jack,” she said, glancing across the road at a run down house.
She imagined that once it had been a very beautiful cottage but now weeds stretched throughout its rickety structure, breaking apart the foundations that remained. It was clear that no one had lived here for a long time. The houses on the road opposite were hardly any different except some were more dilapidated than others. The place on her right looked more like rubble than anything else.
She backed away from the sign and stood by the dusty red Cadillac. The dirt almost completely obscured the car’s licence plate, not that it mattered. The vehicle had seen better days but it was the best transport available at present.
“Well then, let’s go find civilisation!” Jack said, cheerfully patting the car window.
Jill stepped back to stare at him incredulously.
“There’s nothing civil about this mess,” she said after a moment.
Jack watched her carefully and shrugged.
“We’d make a fine civilisation,” he said.
Jill gave him a fierce look that would’ve made him take a few steps back had he not been so ridiculously used to it.
“Nuh-uh,” she said firmly.
Jill stormed off in the direction of the driver seat. Jack hastily climbed into the passenger seat.
“Seriously though, what’s wrong with it being us?” he asked through the open window opposite.
“You’re kidding me right?” Jill snorted. “If it was just us I’m pretty sure you’d kill me.”
She turned to look at him, eyebrow raised.
“You really think I’d do that?” said Jack.
He pouted at her.
“No doubt about it. You enjoy killing don’t you?”
His eyes narrowed slightly but he grinned nonetheless and shrugged again.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Jill wrenched open the car door and sat in the driver’s seat as usual, ignoring Jack’s slightly disgruntled look. He opened his mouth but she beat him to it.
“The day I let you drive my car is the day I die,” she said.
She shot Jack a knowing look.
“Or the day you kill me. Take your pick.”
She slammed the door.
“Why are you in such a bad mood?” Jack sighed.
“Because you got me thinking about how we might be the only two people alive right now!” Jill snapped.
“Don’t be such a drama queen,” Jack retorted.
Jill reached for her seatbelt.
“After all we’ve been through I think I’m entitled. Oh shit.”
Her eyes were wide but her mouth was set in a firm line. Jack didn’t need to ask what the issue was. He’d seen them too. It was surprising how fast you could get used to spotting the creatures when it was them or you.
He grabbed the gun from the dashboard and started to roll the window down with his free hand. Jill turned on the ignition.
“I’m just saying, drama.”
He pointed the snout of the gun out the window, leaning far enough for the gentle afternoon breeze to graze his forehead.
A look of irritation flickered across Jill’s face. She didn’t need to be told. The engine was already revving.
They were off a second later and Jack was firing with the usual vigour, a look of glee on his face.
“Hit ’em Jill!” he yelled.
Jill growled in response. They’d been over this. It was her car, not his and it was their only mode of transport. She was not going to damage their chances of escape at a later date by damaging her precious Caddy now.
“You’re the one with the gun, Jack,” she replied through gritted teeth.
A year ago, that thought alone would’ve terrified her. She’d let the psychopath next to her have a gun? But a few close calls later and she’d reluctantly agreed that they could share, for the time being. They really needed to get another one.
The car hit the motorway at 80mph.
“You got them?” Jill asked, raising her voice over the sound of air resistance and gun shots.
Looking in the side mirror already provided the answer. The creatures were mostly down in the dirt, soaked in their own mucus. The mingling blood wasn’t fresh enough to even be red anymore. Very few of them were rising.
Jill gave Jack a nudge. He reluctantly began to roll the window up, placing the gun back on the dashboard. He gave the SPAS 12 a loving stroke. He was a good shot but his enthusiasm was one of the many things that scared her. Once upon a time she wouldn’t have gone near this freak. But then again, once upon a time prisons would’ve been functional and he wouldn’t have been anywhere near her. It was truly amazing how much could change in a year.