As he started out of the window he knew the darkness was coming. The overwhelming urge to run flooded his mind. Fighting the fear and uncertainty he knew what he needed to do. He had hoped that it would never happen, but he was not naive. As he headed for the door, he took one last look around the room knowing that he would never return. Sentiment was never his strong point but this had been his home. With a heavy heart and a twinge of remorse he picked up the keys and the bag that was already by the door and headed out to the 4x4 that was parked by the house.
Nobody could pinpoint the actual evolution of the disease or who was patient zero but what was clear was that it was highly contagious and victims usually succumbed within 24hrs only to be reanimated from what was in all normal cases, death - the ceasing of all brain activity. Once reanimated they were highly aggressive and immune to pain or injury. That was apart from the severing of the brain stem, however this was not discovered initially. The official reports stated that the disease was not airborne but was transmitted via unprotected direct contact with the infected. There had been numerous reports of the infected attacking others after the apparent reanimation. Officially there was no cure. Modern medicine had met its nemesis. There was no vaccine and it was a lethal and effective pathogen, the ultimate bio-weapon. Hospitals soon became overwhelmed and with the large numbers of infected and slowly the infected started to out number the well in some places.
He thumbed the controls on the radio but apart from the repeated Government warning to stay indoors and advice on avoiding infection that was broadcast on what was the BBC frequencies, there was nothing but static. He sighed and wondered if this plan of his would work. He had spent many days leading up to this moment working on a way to survive. Until the power and phone lines had gone dead, he had researched his plan on the Internet. In some ways it was a sign of modern era that all the information he needed was at the click of a mouse and apart from gathering what he needed, he had not had to leave the confines of the house. But like all great era’s this one had collapsed.
The road was dark and slippery from the early autumn leaves but the route he had chosen was the only one. He had to avoid the main roads and built up areas if possible. He had seen the pictures of the congestion jammed towns and hear the warnings on the radio to not travel unless absolutely necessary but that was before it went quiet. He knew now there was a reason why they had moved out here away from the town and into the country. At the time he had resisted and the friction had caused arguments between them. But that was pointless now. Everyhing had changed.
He slammed on the brakes. Movement up ahead. The road was empty apart from him, but he was sure he saw something ahead near the trees lining the country road. To the left was empty fields and to the right was the edge of woods. He knew he had to carry on, he had to get there and right now there was only one reason. Hope. Cautiously he moved down the road, eyes scanning the treeline. As he approached a break in the trees, there it was again a brief flash of movement. His heart raced and his mind raced between the options, either speed away creating a hell of lot of noise and attracting more attention, or wait and see possibly be attacked. With that there was a crash from the trees and the blur of something leaping across the road. His A deer, a sodding deer. Relief washed over him and he cursed the deer who now was bounding across the fields. Realising that time was getting on he put the 4x4 back in to gear and carried on to his destination making a mental note to shoot the next deer he saw. Venison steaks had always been a favourite of his.
Apart from the odd bird and the deer there was not much in the way of life as he travelled along. The house was not far now and he would have called ahead if there was a working phone. He had pleaded and begged with her not to go but she insisted and maybe with a touch of stubbornness she sped away from the relative safety of their house to where he was heading now. It had been 6 hours since that row and he had decided that now was the time to put the plan into action. He moved along the lane into the house and parked along side her car. He noticed it was unlocked, not that it would have bothered him but the keys were still in the ignition. Taking the keys he walked up the path to the back door, knowing that usually it was unlocked.
He popped the gate and walked around the house. It was unusually quiet, normally he would have heard the dogs or would have been greeted with a friendly nuzzle from one of the dogs. The door was ajar. He called out but there was no response. He stepped in to the kitchen and walked through the house. There was no sign of anyone. Upstairs the beds looked slept in but there was no one there either. He walked back to the kitchen and looked out towards the outhouses behind the house. Subconsciously he took out his mobile phone before realising his mistake. Some habits die hard he thought. It was dead and not only that, there was no mobile signal. There hadn't been any for days. He was at a loss. Where were they? Leaving the kitchen behind he walked up to the outbuildings. As he approached the gate at the end of the garden, he got the first sign that something wasn’t right. The gate swung in the breeze and caught across the catch was a strip of fabric stained with blood.