Jack Nixon is a high schooler in his exam year with bipolar disease and severe depression. He spends each day fighting his own mind and emotions before he destroys himself. He finds a comfort in his best friends and his girlfriend, who support him daily. He always finds himself a burden, but they make his life better.
But as an unthinkable disease spreads through the world and his make believe plans for a zombie apocalypse become a surreal reality, he must push his unstable emotions aside when he, his brother and his two best friends are put in charge of a rag-tag group of survivors, including his girlfriend and her sister, who he has vowed to protect. He must push past the dead, the living and his own to maintain their safety.


19. The New Routine

   The members of the group kept to themselves for most of the morning. Apart from Jack occasionally going to see Lucy and his brother, no one really left the rooms they had been assigned. The house was eerily quiet, too quiet for most of the kids to feel settled. In a society of television and music for it to be quiet was an unusual occurrence. Most of them had received phone calls that morning or texts from their families. Just knowing they were still alive was a comfort for them. However, Jack and Derren and Alexia had heard nothing.

 Rachel was staring out of the windows at the surrounding fields come lunchtime, as if she was almost expecting something bad to happen. Her, Shaun and Alexia had been told to keep an eye on the BBC News 24 channel, which was still broadcasting from the docks in Dover, for any new information, but since midnight, they hadn’t said anything different. Absolutely nothing. They just kept repeating themselves. Shaun heard news from the day before, as if they had lost connection to the whole world. For all he knew they had.

 He began to hear a subtle sobbing and turned to see Alexia near the door, holding her bent legs tight against her, creating herself a cradle. Shaun spotted a few tears rolling down her cheek. She nudged Rachel on the elbow, snapping her out of her state of hypnosis, and inclined his head towards Alexia, to say “This is your department.” Rachel tutted and sighed as she walked over to her. She put her hand on Alexia’s shoulder, making Lexi jump violently.

 “Sorry hun.” Rachel said. “You okay?”

 Alexia shook her head slightly and looked up in Shaun’s direction, who was listening closely to the conversation.

 “Shaun, out.” Rachel barked. He began to protest, but even before he did, Rachel had began to snap at him, so he conceded and shuffled into the kitchen.

 “You sure he won’t hear us?” Alexia sniffed.

 “If he does, I’ll punch him.” Rachel replied, without even a hint of sarcasm. “Now what’s up?”

 Lexi hesitated. “I need to go back to Evesham.”

 Rachel sighed exhaustively. “Lexi...”

 “I know what you’re going to say. Look, I appreciate the fact that you’re taking care of me, all of you, especially you and the Weavers. It’s nice to know I’m not the only teenage girl left in the world.”

 Rachel chuckled. “Feeling’s mutual, Lex.”

 “But I can't stay here.” Alexia continued. “I mean, apart from Jack coming to visit my brother once or twice, I didn’t know any of you until, what, twelve hours ago?”

 “More like twenty hours n-”

 “The time doesn’t matter!” Alexia snapped. She shook her head. “Sorry, I’m not really feeling right at the moment.

 Rachel nodded and smiled. “Anyway, “she continued, “I need to find my family. I know they’re still out there. My dad kept a gun under his bed, ‘Just for emergencies’ he would always say. And my brother is brilliant in tight situations and a tough guy. It would take more than a few rotting corpses to take him down.”

 “But we’re not talking about just a few, are we?”

 “Look, I don’t care! They’re still alive, I know it. I can feel it.”

 Rachel moved to face Alexia. “Look kid, god knows I can relate. My family means alot to me too. If you’re thinking of forcing yourself out of that door, I’m not stopping you, but I’ll warn you, the boys I’m travelling with? They are the most stubborn bastards you’ll ever have the chance to meet if you try to force a decision. My advice is talk it over with Jack, he’ll understand it the most considering the recent events. But you try running away without a word, chances he’ll have sniffer dogs trying to track you down.”

 Alexia laughed as she wiped tears from her cheeks. She then stopped for a second. “Hang on, what do you mean the recent circumstances?”

 Rachel sighed. “He lost his father after a week-long coma the day before all this went down.”

 “Oh my god...” Alexia drew a sharp breath. “How’d it happen?”

 “Traffic accident. Was unconscious at the scene and didn’t wake up after that. His bike got smashed into by a oil tanker that didn’t look before he pulled out and went into a coma. He was declared dead a week later.”

 Alexia went silent. “I would never have guessed. The way he’s been acting, the way he keeps us all under control with the others...”

 “It’s strange, but I think this has been a distraction. Also, we’ve all had calls or texts from our parents, and the Weavers got that note from their folks, so we all know they have a chance. That is, apart from you and Jack and his brother.”

 “So he doesn’t know where his mum is either?”

 Rachel shot a stare out of the window to Leon who was eating some beans he had cooked with a paraffin heater he had found when he was snooping in the shed. “I don’t know if she’s okay or not. Leon’s lot came into the school all guns blazing. For all we know, they were shooting anyone they saw that wasn’t in the evac zone, which would explain why Leon came with us in the first place. Helen, Jack’s mother, was one of the paramedics there. With how he seems to be telling us nothing, chances are, she was killed by his battalion.”

 “Wait,” Alexia asked, getting up from the ground, “You think he killed Jack’s mum?”

 “Can’t be sure. I wouldn’t put it past him, he’s trained to do what he’s told, but in most crowds, there’s always a sheep that runs from the flock. For his sake, I hope that’s Leon.”

 Shaun suddenly cut in, appearing from the doorway. “Um... Alexia? Jack wants to talk to you. He’s in the kitchen, and he wants me and Rachel to tell everyone to pack up, says we’ll be leaving soon.”

 Rachel scowled. “Really? This soon?”

 “That’s what he said...”

 “Alright. Go on kid, we shouldn’t let him wait.”

 Alexia wiped her eyes and swallowed whatever tears he has left. He walked into the kitchen, where Jack, Lucy and Aiden had a map out on the kitchen table.

 “What’s up?”

 Jack looked up quickly. “Ahh, fantastic. Alexia, we need to really get out of here, with the hordes from Evesham, we have no idea what’s coming from bigger places like Cheltenham and Redditch, they run into us, we’re dead meat. So I decided we’re moving for Worcester tonight. At least that’s defended. There’s hardly anything left in the cupboards, the Weaver folks must have taken it with them, so we’ll have to get some tinned supplies from the Inn down the road.”

 The Beckford Inn was on the main road between Cheltenham and Evesham, and was never very popular. However, it definitely had a kitchen, which meant tinned beans, tinned fruit, tinned everything. The place was a veritable goldmine where food and drink was concerned.

 “Right, so who’s going and who’s staying?”

 “Nate’s staying here to help out with mine and Aiden’s packing, which admittedly we’re a bit cautious about. Anyway, me and Aiden are going down there with Leon, Lucy and Jade, as they didn’t get much action last time.” He said as he shot a smirk at Lucy, who had moaned about the fact earlier, and was now gripping a pitchfork.

 “Where do come into this?”

 “I want you to come with us.”

 Lexi stepped back, astounded. “You what?”

 “You worked well under pressure at Morrisons.” Jack continued, “You have a fighting spirit, we saw that when you started firing shots from the top of a freaking building. If you ask me, you’re perfect for this. It’s only a quick in-and-out job, nothing too bad as long as we don’t run into any more hordes on the roads.”

 “Come on, Lexi!” Lucy perked up, “We need to show the boys what we’re made of!”

 “Yeah, we’re not just pretty faces.” Jade added on.

 Alexia huffed. “Fine, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

 “Don’t worry,” Aiden cut in, “we’ll be able to fight off whatever small groups are around here.”

 “You seem pretty confident about yourself.” Alexia sneered with a judging stare. “And anyway, I wasn’t talking about the Carriers.”

 “Then what’s the problem?” Lucy asked.

 Alexia inclined to the back garden. “What about our lodger?”

 “We need Leon.” Jack replied firmly, as if he had said it before recently.

 “But we-”

 “Look!” Aiden began shouting. “He’s our best shot. Literally. And if we’re going to get into a bloody army compound, don’t you think if we have one of their own with us?”

 Everyone went quiet for a second. “I’ll admit,” Jack continued, “I have funny feeling about him too. After the school and now this thing with Phil, I can’t say I completely trust him, but I promise you lot, the second I get all of you on the ferry at Dover, he’s leaving.”

 “I guess I’ll have to make the most of it then, won’t I?” Leon said suddenly from the back door. No one had the confidence to tell him they were planning to throw him out, but the silence was unbearable. For a moment the kids could have sworn that the walls were beginning to shift in towards them. Leon sighed and pushed off the wall he was leaning on, taking his sidearm out of his belt.

 “Shall we be off then?”

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