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Survivors (standard:adventure, 2894 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Apr 24 2004Views/Reads: 2683/1566Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
In early 2003, as America, Britain and Spain pushed for war without UN agreement, I wondered where it might lead. Meanwhile a deadly virus was beginning to spread…


©2003 Ian Hobson 

In early 2003, as America, Britain and Spain pushed for war without UN
agreement, I wondered where it might lead.  Meanwhile a deadly virus 
was beginning to spread... 


Billy stretched and yawned and scratched his beard.  ‘You awake, Jan?'
he asked, quietly.  There was no reply.  He began to cough and rolled 
onto his side, holding his hand to his chest.  As the coughing subsided 
he reached for his torch, which lay on the floor of the car beside his 
boots.  He switched it on and raised himself up on his elbow to look 
into the back.  Jan's sleeping bag lay on the rear seat with the zipper 
unfastened, but the impression of her body still evident.  Billy turned 
his head as he tried to see through the steamed up windows and front 
windscreen into the darkness of the basement car park.  But he saw 
nothing; just a little daylight that filtered through the rubble filled 
hole where the main entrance had once been. 

There was a click as the nearside rear door opened and Jan climbed in. 
‘Morning, sleepyhead,' she said.  ‘The rain's stopped.' 

Billy lifted himself up on his elbows again and grinned at Jan, who
leaned over the seats and kissed him full on the lips. 

‘Who taught you to creep around so quietly?' Billy asked, as Jan flopped
back into the rear seat of the Peugeot 406.  In the torchlight, Billy 
studied Jan's face for a moment.  He thought she was beautiful, despite 
her pale and wasted features, and once again he realised how glad he 
was to have found her.  With virtually the whole population of Britain 
- and for all he knew, all of Europe – evacuated or dead, it seemed 
like a miracle that they had found each other. 

‘You did, my love,' Jan replied.  She returned Billy's gaze, but hid her
worry behind a smile.  She had heard him coughing as she returned to 
the car, and wondered if it might be radiation sickness – or the virus. 
 His cough always seemed worse at night and first thing in the morning. 

‘What's for breakfast?' Billy asked. 

‘Well, Sir, we have tinned tuna, tinned tuna or tinned tuna.'  For
several days now, this had been their mealtime joke.  They had found 
twenty-one cans of tuna in the Peugeot, together with the body of the 
driver, whose name, according to his credit card, was R. G. Walker.  
His body now lay buried beneath rubble outside, and the car had become 
their temporary home - not as plush as The Queens Hotel, a few blocks 
away, but safer. 

‘Oh, in that case, I'll have tinned tuna.'  Billy unzipped his sleeping
bag and scratched his ankle.  ‘A slice of bread and butter to go with 
it would be nice though.' 

‘Hmmm, fresh crusty bread smothered in butter,' said Jan, ‘and a nice
hot cup of...' 

‘Oh, stop,' said Billy, ‘I can't bear it.' 

‘You started it, Lover...  We must find something soon though.  We're
down to three cans.  And that bottle of water we started yesterday...' 

Billy began to cough again but soon brought it under control.  ‘Yeah, I
know.  It's our last.' 

‘There's always rainwater,' suggested Jan.  That barrel you left under
the fall pipe's full now.' 

‘Good, I could do with a wash.  But we don't drink rainwater unless we
have to,' replied Billy, lifting his legs over the gear lever and 
reaching for his boots.  ‘We better move on today, we've exhausted this 
area.'  He opened the glove box and reached for his soap before opening 
the passenger door.  ‘I think I'll have an all-over wash before 

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