Danny - We have to leave
“Where is Daddy?” She looks up from the telly to peer at me with impatient eyes.
“I don’t know, I’m sure he is on his way. Look!” I point to the screen trying to get her attention back on the movie; attempting to keep her distracted.
Dad was supposed to be home two hours ago and every time I try to call him it goes straight to answer phone. If Mum knew she’d freak so I haven’t called her but I’m starting to worry, something has to have gone wrong if he hasn’t called once. I don’t want to do anything to upset Georgia so I’m not going to check traffic reports just yet; I’ll wait for her to fall asleep first.
Georgia isn’t the only one who has had a headache all day; mine has only gotten worse as the day has worn on so I know how she feels. Laying my head back against the sofa cushions, I let my eyes close in an attempt to stop the lights that are dancing across my eyes; isn’t that a migraine?
I can feel my body becoming heavy and know I’m falling asleep but jolt back awake when my phone vibrates on the arm rest beside me; the screen lights up the dimly lit room making Georgia jump.
“Try and sleep Baby, I need to answer this.” Kissing the top of her head, I jump up and make a beeline for the kitchen; shutting the door behind me at the same time as answer the phone. It’s not Dad but at the moment I could do with a few comforting words.
“Hello?” The first thing I hear is laboured breathing and the sound of running footsteps. “Callie?”
“Oh my good Lord! Are you home?” Her voice is strained as she’s obviously running though there’s no mistaking the panic in her voice.
“Yeah, what’s wrong? What happened?” I try to keep my voice down but I get the feeling if I talk to lowly she won’t hear me.
“I’m heading towards yours now; it’s crazy. The world is ending, I swear it. Keep the doors locked I’ll bang on the door three times don’t open it otherwise.”
“What’re you talking about? You’re scaring me!” My eyes jump to the kitchen and I have to stop myself from going to check on Georgia as fear surges through me.
“Just don’t let your parents go out tonight…Shit!” I hear a strange noise come through the phone followed by a creaking metallic sound I’m assuming is some kind of gate.
“They’re not here! What’s going on? Please Cal’ you’re scaring me!” I can’t hold back any longer, I have to peek through the kitchen door to see if she’s still on the sofa; the sight of her curled up under the Winnie the Pooh blanket comforts me but does nothing to calm my racing heart.
“I’ll be there soon. Don’t. Open. The. Door.” The line goes dead causing my knees to go weak; I have to mask my fear and instead put on a smile as I walk back into the Family Room.
I’m building myself up to talk when I see her eyes have closed and her breathing is heavy: she’s asleep. “Thank God.” I mute the telly even though the volume is already really low because of our headaches; I’m too chicken to turn it off, I need something to distract me. What’s going on? Why would she run all the way round here? It’s more than a couple miles and she’s not the athletic type; she hates sports like me. What could have happened that would cause this kind of reaction?
I nearly jump out of my skin when I hear a knock on the door followed by two more. Leaping up, I dash as quietly as I can to the front door to look through the peep hole. She’s got her back to me as she looks up and down the street we live on. Opening the door, I yank the back of her coat to get her inside before shutting and re-locking the door.
“What the feck is going on?” My heart’s pounding in my chest so hard I think I might pass out.
“The people that were being put into hospital for being ill? They’re changed; they can’t be cured once they catch it they’re done for. The sickness is making them act…strange; they’re doing things that…” She closes her eyes for a second before looking up at me. “They’re like zombies. They want to eat you; they’re Cannibalistic!”
I stare at her for a few seconds before raising an eyebrow. “Have you been smoking your brother’s cigarettes again?”
“What? No! I’m serious!” She growls uncharacteristically when she see’s my doubt. “Look at this then.” She grabs my hand and pulls me to the window, pulling back the blind slowly. “Look down the street, tell me if you see her: she’s wearing a dressing gown; it’s an awful yellow colour you can’t miss it.”
Following her finger, I look towards the Fennels’ house across the road. I see who Callie was talking about: it’s Linda; she works at the hospital as a nurse.
The front door opens and Maisy comes out, I can see her mouth moving as she obviously tries to talk to Linda who is just standing in the driveway. I watch open mouthed as Linda turns towards Maisy and begins flat out running for her; the ghastly yellow dressing gown flaps around her legs and causes her to trip as she tries to climb the steps to the front door.
Maisy’s face was a mask of shock but suddenly contorts in pain as I see her screaming violently trying to get away from Linda who has a hold of her leg. It’s only when Maisy’s Dad comes running and pulls her away that I see the…blood.
“The hospitals have started to become overrun; they’re roaming all over the place.” She grabs my shoulders and turns me towards her; looking me in the eye. “I ran over here as fast as I could. My dad came home early, it’s worse in London; they’re everywhere apparently. He wants to go to our house in [……….] you have to come with us. Please Danny, it’s happening! The world is going crazy!”
I stare at her numbly, I can still the see the blood trickling down Maisy’s leg; I try to look back but Callie doesn’t let me and grabs my face.
“My dad is coming to get us; you need to pack now!” She shakes me violently, her face pleading for me to pull it together.
“Danny?” Georgia appears in the doorway to the family room; her face is contorted in pain. “My head hurts.” Her voice breaks as she begins to cry.
Breaking from Callie; I go and wrap my arms around Georgia’s small body. “It’s okay, Baby. It’ll stop soon.” I say though I’m doubtful for some reason. “Is it getting worse?”
She nods against my side, her eyes are scrunched up.
“Danny.” Callie’s eyes are unwavering as she silently mouths the words “we have to go.”
“Daddy has to work again, Callie wants us to go stay with them and have a girlie sleepover; doesn’t that sound fun?” I run my hand over her head when I hear her sniff and whimper.
“I want Mummy.”
“I know she’ll come home soon but until then we’re going with Callie. We need to go pack and get ready, Baby.”
Unexpectedly, she just nods and allows me to lead her upstairs. “I’ll give you come more medicine soon Baby.”
In my room, Georgia climbs onto my bed and climbs under the duvet, she watches us as we begin grabbing thing out of draws.
“How long do we have?” I ask quietly, as I change out of my pyjamas and into a pair or jeans and a long sleeved top.
Handing me a hoodie to put on, she shrugs; her face unsure. “Ten minutes? Depends how long it takes for them to go check my uncle’s; they don’t live far from here. Best we’re quick though, things will only get worse.”
It barely takes a few minutes to pack a bag for me, we’re both silent as we move to Georgia’s room to do her things.
“I’m scared Callie; my dad was driving in London today; what if he got sick?” I keep my voice down; fear of Georgia over hearing me.
“I’m sure he’s fine; your dad is smart and he wouldn’t have gone down without a fight. I bet he’s fighting his way here.”
Sighing I nod; my dad is a stubborn old man. “We have to leave a note for him; letting him know where we are. My mum too; I bet she’s freaking out.”
She nods with agreement. “I’ll get Georgia dressed and take her down to get Calpol. Anything you want to grab that you don’t want to leave behind? This place might not be like this when you get back here…”
Staring at her, I realise she’s right. Nodding, I quickly make my way to our parent’s bedroom. Their dresser is my first stop because the photo’s lining the top are some of the best ones of us all the way back to when I was a baby. I’m not gentle taking them out their frames. In the first draw to the left is a box that’s filled with all my mum’s favourite jewellery but inside is also the little cross and chain that was meant to be Georgia’s when she got a bit older and the ring that was going to be mine when I turned eighteen; both were my grandmother’s.
Pocketing both, I grab the pocket watch that was my grandfather’s and the envelope in the next draw down from beneath my mum’s bras. It’s open, and I can’t help but look inside and thumb through the pound notes; hell of a lot of money.
I’m just about to leave but stop, looking back at my mum and dad’s wardrobe. I can’t help myself and find myself going through their wardrobe, searching for my dad’s old work hoodie; when I find it I pull the worn fabric over my head before grabbing one of my mum’s jumpers for Georgia; it’s pink and faded with so many washes but one of my little sister’s favourites.
“My Dad’s here.” I jump and spin to face Callie.
Part of me wants to stay; crawl into my parent’s bed and sleep the pain in my head away, but there’s a part of me that knows leaving here will keep Georgia safer.
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