Sitting in the road looking up at the bus was a creature resembling a large gargoyle.
‘Julia, hold on to the kids,’
Luke accelerated towards the creature, sounding the horn. The creature turned, saw the car and raced towards it. Luke floored the accelerator and hit the creature head on. The force of the impact sent it flying along the road where it landed with a thud by the back of the bus. It struggled to get up then fell back to the ground, motionless. Luke stopped the car in front of the doors. He got out and banged on the bus. Heads appeared at the windows.
‘Cynthia, open the door.’
The doors opened and Cynthia stood in the doorway. ‘Luke, we were so worried, we thought...’
‘Get in the cars, quick.’
Shaun was out of his car with the doors open. ‘In here,’ he shouted.
Cynthia and Helen, with Elle between them, stepped down from the bus and hurried to the Mercedes.
Emma stood on the step holding the baby. She was looking back at the creature, terrified.
‘Get in the car, quick. It might get up. Hurry,’ Luke urged.
He turned from the creature to Emma, grabbed her arm and pulled her off the step.
‘Get in the fucking car.’
She stumbled as she left the bus. Luke caught her. He ushered her into the back of the Range Rover and shut the door, then got on the bus and went to the back.
The creature got up off the floor, shook itself, and headed for the open door of the bus.
Julia jumped into the driving seat. She put the car in gear.
When Luke saw it coming for him he reached up and twisted the lever, shutting the doors.
The Range Rover surged forward and hit the creature, dragging it up the road past the bus. Razor sharp talons scraped along the bonnet as the creature tried to climb up. Julia hit the brakes hard. The creature flew from the front of the car and hit the road. She ran it over with the front and back wheels. Not waiting to see if it was dead, she reversed over it, then sped backwards to the bus.
Luke jumped down. He looked at the squashed remains of the creature and ran to the car, laden down with bags. He put these in the back with the dog then climbed in next to Julia, laughing.
‘Nice shot Jules. It’s well squashed.’
‘Nice shot,’ she said, sarcastically. ‘I nearly bloody wet myself.’
Luke laughed. ‘You all right to drive?’
‘Yeah, just until we get away from here.’
Luke opened the window and leant out. ‘Shaun, back up so we can turn around.’
Emma looked at the two small boys huddled together close to the door. She leaned forward between the seats. ‘Where did these two come from?’
Luke turned in his seat. ‘I found them in the house where we got the cars from. They were hiding under a bed. Their parents were killed,’ he whispered.
‘Oh. The poor little things.’
‘Luke. Where are we going?’ asked Julia.
‘Well this place has had it. Those that weren’t evacuated are probably all dead. We need to get to Nottingham, that’s where my mum and dad were taken. What about your husband?’
‘There isn’t one. We broke up before the baby was born. He moved back to America.’
‘Sorry... I,’ Luke said, smiling.
‘Oh don’t be. He was a prick anyway. I’m just glad I found out before I married him.’
Luke looked across at Julia. They both laughed.
The baby began to cry.
‘Julia, I think she’s hungry and she needs her nappy changed,’ Emma said, trying to settle the baby.
‘Damn. I left my bag in my car, it’s got her bottles and nappies in it. Can we pull in somewhere before we hit the motorway? I’m sure we just passed a sign for a village.’
They drove for about half a mile then Luke pointed to a sign as they approached it.
‘We can try there. I’m hungry anyway, and we can stock up on some food and drinks.’
‘I think we could all do with something,’ Julia said. ‘I just hope it’s safe.’
‘We can always drive back out if it’s not.’
Julia indicated to let Shaun know they were turning off the main road. They drove into the village. It was deserted and eerily quiet, not a thing was moving.
‘There’s shops over there.’ She drove around the village green and parked up by a small shopping precinct.
They sat looking around.
‘Seems okay.’ Luke said, reaching for the door handle. ‘It’s not worth everyone getting out, just in case.’
‘I’ll come with you,’ Julia insisted.
‘No. I can get what we need. You stay here behind the wheel. If anything kicks off get the hell out of here.’
‘I’m not leaving you behind. If that’s what you think then we’ll wait until we get to Nottingham.’
‘That’s about two hours away. We need stuff now. It’s not worth putting everyone’s life at risk. I mean it. We’ve got three kids to think of now. If anything happens you have to go.’
Luke opened the door and got out. ‘Just keep the engine running. I won’t be long.’
He shut the door and ran over to the Mercedes.
Shaun lowered the window. ‘What’s happening? Why we stopping here?’
‘Julia’s baby needs food and nappies, and we could all do with something to eat and drink.’
Shaun opened the door. ‘I’ll come with you.’
Luke pushed the door shut. ‘No, you stay here, just in case. I’ll get some stuff for us as well, but if anything happens get the hell out of here and head for Nottingham. I’ll meet you there, say, by the front of the football ground. I won’t be long.’
‘Luke, could I have some cigarettes?’ Cynthia called from the car.
Luke was already running to the shops. He went up to the door of a chemist’s shop and tried the handle; the door was locked. Looking around for something to break the window with he spotted a pair of large pots with flowers in. He picked one up and hurled it at the glass. The whole window imploded, the noise echoing around the silent village like a bomb going off.
He climbed through the opening and disappeared into the darkness of the shop. A few minutes passed that seemed like hours for those in the cars, all eyes were on the opening, waiting for him to return.
Luke appeared at the shop window with a box. He climbed out and went over to Julia’s door. She lowered the window down.
‘I got nappies, wipes, and ready made milk, some bottles, teats and a dummy. Anything else she needs?’
‘No, that’s great, now get in the car and let’s go.’
‘In a minute,’ he laughed. He handed her the box through the window and ran back to the shops. The door to the Spar local was also locked. Picking up the other pot he hurled it at the shop window. The pot bounced off and shattered on the pavement, leaving the window intact.
He looked around for something else and saw a broken paving stone, pulled up a large chunk of it and threw it at the glass door; the window shattered, leaving a large hole.
Julia shouted to him. ‘Get in the car. Leave it.’
Luke looked around at her, then disappeared into the shop.
He came back to the window three times, dropping filled carrier bags on to the pavement, then climbed out and put the bags into the back of the Range Rover.
‘I won’t be a minute, I forgot something.’
Julia pleaded with him. ‘Luke that’s enough. Please get in.’
He ran back to the shop and climbed in through the hole.
Creatures came racing across the village green, their screams shattering the silence. Luke tried to get out but in his haste sliced his arm open on the glass. He fell back into the shop as the creatures swarmed over the cars and headed for the hole in the window.
They attacked the cars, tearing at the roof and windows with their claws.
With Emma screaming hysterically in the back, the baby crying, and the boys huddled together, shaking with fear, through the pandemonium going on inside the car and the screams from the creatures attacking them, Julia looked towards the shop and saw that Luke was gone.
Creatures were pouring through the opening in the door.
She put the car in gear, surged forward, then braked. The creatures on top of the car lost their grip and flew off onto the roa in front. She hit the accelerator hard and ran over a few.
Both cars took off, leaving crushed and broken creatures in their wake. As they circled the village green, with creatures chasing after them, Julia headed for a side road, closely followed by Shaun. The creatures fell behind as the cars disappeared into the lane.
They came to a wide fork in the road. Julia screamed to a halt. Shaun braked, narrowly avoiding hitting her in the rear. She turned the car around.
‘I’m not fucking leaving him,’ she shouted. ‘Not until I’m sure.’
Accelerating fast she passed the Mercedes at speed and headed back to the village.
As the Range Rover came out onto the village green, Julia looked over at the shops. She saw Luke standing at an upstairs window. The creatures in the road were feeding on the sticky mess of the ones they had run over. As she drove slowly around the green the creatures raced across the grassed area to resume their attack.
She drove around the green, followed by Shaun in the Mercedes, crushing the creatures under the wheels as they circled. Soon there were only a few creatures left alive. Some were running around fighting and attacking each other, others ignored the car completely and continued to feed on their companions.
Julia mounted the pavement and stopped the car outside the store, scraping the side doors against the building and breaking off the wing mirror, she blocked off the hole in the window.
Shaun aimed his car at a creature that was heading for Julia and ran it over. He got another one, squashing it under the wheels.
Luke stood at the window looking down at the cars. He knew the creatures would soon break through the thin panelled door of the room he had sought safety in.
A claw pulled away part of a lower panel and a terrible mutated head forced its way in, but the opening was not wide enough to get its body through. It screamed in agony as blood gushed through its huge open mouth as the creatures behind it tore it to pieces in their effort to break through and get to their prey inside.
Luke climbed out on the cill. He looked down and could see the creatures trapped in the shop, their claws tearing at the side of the car. Above the crescendo of screaming and the tearing of metal he could hear the baby crying.
Behind him, a loud cracking sound drew his attention back to the room. The door had split, but the creatures that were fighting each other to get into the room had blocked the opening in the door with their own bodies. The sight and sounds in the room of the creatures trapped in the opening, tearing at each others flesh, wanting to be the first to get at him, had Luke mesmerised. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the horror.
Julia had opened the sun roof. She looked up at him. ‘Jump,’ she screamed.
Luke dropped off the window cill and landed heavily on the car’s roof.
A grotesque form appeared at the window. It leapt down at them, hit the roof of the Range Rover and bounced off. Shaun accelerated forward and ran it over.
As Luke slid down through the open sunroof and into the passenger seat, creature’s streamed out of the window above, landing on the roof of the Range Rover. Julia pressed frantically at the switch to shut the sunroof as she accelerated away, the creatures lost their grip and slid off the roof.
Both cars drove away from the shops as creatures poured through the hole in the shop window and leapt from the window above and chased after them. The Mercedes ploughing down more than a few of the pursuing creatures.
Luke’s arm was dripping blood through the rag he had tied around it.
They sped away from the village as the last few stragglers chasing them fell behind. Julia looked into the rear view mirror and saw only Shaun following her.
She stopped the car and turned to Luke. ‘Show me your arm,’ she demanded.
Luke took the rag away from the wound. Blood poured freely and dripped into his lap.
‘We need to deal with that now. Emma. Get me one of those triage packs.’
Emma reached over and grabbed the bags from the back. She quickly sorted through the bags. Julia snatched it from her and ripped it open with her teeth spilling the contents. She grabbed a thick gauze pad and pressed it over the wound.
‘Hold this end,’ she told Luke.
She wrapped a bandage tight around the already blood soaked gauze. ‘It should start to clot in a minute. Raise your arm up and hold it there. What the fuck did you go back in for? You nearly got killed. You stupid bloody fool.’
Luke grinned sheepishly, he brought out a carton of cigarettes from under his coat. ‘I’ve heard these things can kill you.’
‘You idiot. Let’s get out of here to somewhere safe then I can take a proper look at that arm.’
‘Thanks... for coming back.’
‘I couldn’t just bloody leave you. Could I?’
Luke leant across and kissed her on the cheek. ‘Thanks.’
‘You’re welcome,’ she said, smiling. ‘Now put that arm back up and let’s go.’
Luke turned around and winked at Emma. She smiled back at him. He waved at Shaun through the rear window.
Shaun waved back, flashing the lights and hitting out a tune on the hooter.
‘You’re bloody mad you lot,’ Emma said.