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|Survivors (standard:adventure, 2894 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Apr 24 2004||Views/Reads: 2395/1369||Story 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…|
Survivors ©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 Click here to read the rest of this story (262 more lines)
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