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Chapter 18

Chapter 18

The road ahead was empty and lifeless. The clouds above looked gloomy and threatened to rain. Despite this, Jason was in good spirits. He was moving on to new horizons, new hopes, a new life. He had no idea how far the virus had spread but he could only assume it had infected the whole country. He drove cautiously, partly to avoid any incidents with the Screamers and partly to keep an eye out for possible supplies. Leaving town was easy, there was nothing left there anymore, all supplies were gone, the town centre was a mess, and everything had been smashed up and destroyed by the rampaging Screamers.

The country road wound its way through woods and over hills and numerous times Jason spotted a Screamer aimlessly hobbling around. A roundabout appeared ahead with a sign stating three destinations.

Left to Leicester.

Straight on to M1-The South, London.

Right to M1-The North, Leeds.

It was decision time for Jason, stay in the area and head to Leicester or stick to the plan and head sound to London and whatever lay beyond. He didn’t need to think about it, he had already made his decision and drove straight on towards London.

Entering the motorway, he found it strange to see it empty. No cars, no lorries, just empty. This road was always busy, he thought. And that’s when it really hit him, he was on his own in this. He would survive but it would be a lonely and empty world he would have to live in. Putting his foot to the floor, he quickly accelerated and began his journey south.

Jason had only driven for 20 miles on the motorway when he was forced to slow down. Up ahead, cars queued in every lane, waiting for the blockage further down the motorway to clear. Only the blockage wouldn’t clear. These cars were empty, their doors open and their windows smashed. As he got closer, he noticed some were overturned, most were smashed up and the odd one was burnt out. Pulling onto the hard shoulder, he drove slowly past them, swerving to avoid debris. It was an endless line of traffic. He imagined the carnage when the Screamers ripped through the traffic jam. There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to run. The occupants of the cars were sitting ducks. One minute waiting patiently for the traffic to clear, the next minute being eaten to death or infected. His thoughts were quickly disturbed as he noticed the cause of the traffic jam. Sitting at an awkward angle across all three lanes of the motorway was a partly overturned lorry with the letters “T E S C O” printed on the side. Jason pulled his truck over and sat there for a moment, his eyes surveying the scene all around. Cans of food and bottles of drink were scattered across the road.

‘This has got to be a set up,’ he mumbled, ‘but where are you waiting?’

He looked as hard as he could but he was certain no one was around. Everything looked the way it should be apart from the food strewn across the motorway. Grabbing his bag, he took out three knives. He strapped one to his ankle, tucked one into the back of his trousers and held the other firmly in his hand as he opened the door and stepped out of his truck. Cautiously, he darted from car to car, using them for cover as he watched for any sign of movement. As a park ranger, his senses were tuned to look for movement, so as not to disturb any wildlife or to stalk and tranquilise animals that needed veterinary attention. But that no longer applied, there were no animals left. The only movement he was looking for now was from other humans or Screamers and neither appeared to be present here. As he approached the back of the trailer, he reached up and swung open one of the rear doors. He had a quick look around behind him and then peered in. Metal cages filled the trailer, and each cage was packed with cardboard boxes. Jason let out a low whistle as he imagined the contents of each box. Wasting no time, he leapt up into the back of the trailer and started rummaging through the boxes, reading the labels. There was everything he could possibly need, baked beans, canned soup, water, whisky, he couldn’t believe his luck. Stacking up boxes at the rear of the trailer, he had a quick glance outside and continued exploring the cages. When he was sure he had all he needed, he transferred the boxes to his truck, all the time observing his surroundings.

When he had finished, he walked over to the cab of the lorry, picking up a can of soup on his way over. He climbed up, opened the door and eased into the seat. Pulling the ring on the can of soup, he eased it open and sipped it as he fiddled with the knobs on the trucks CB radio. It was dead. No power, the battery drained long ago, probably. He stared out the window at the empty motorway on the other side of the lorry. His eyes widened as he noticed another obstruction about half a mile down the road. Army vehicles. They looked abandoned. Finishing his soup, he jumped down from the cab and climbed into his truck, manoeuvring it around the lorry with difficulty. When he reached the army vehicles, they were indeed empty. He parked his truck, climbed out and opened the door to the first vehicle, a green Land Rover. He quickly checked inside, nothing. He switched on the CB radio and it hissed. It shocked him as he was expecting it to be dead. Picking up the handset, he pressed the button and spoke slowly and clearly.

‘My name is Jason Lambert. I am a survivor. Is there anybody out there?’

No response.

‘Are there any survivors out there?’

No response.

He thought for a moment and then spoke again, this time in a more hushed and calm voice.

‘My name is Jason Lambert. I am a survivor. If anyone can hear me, I am heading south to look for other survivors.’

He clicked off and moved on to the next vehicle, another Land Rover, this one was empty too. Leaving it, he then chose to search a big Bedford truck. The back held boxes of ammunition and his eyes lit up and then dropped in a defeated look. Ammo was no good without a weapon to put it in. He thoroughly searched the rear of the truck for a gun but didn’t find one. He opened the door to the cab and searched there, nothing. There was one vehicle left to search, another Land Rover about twenty meters down the road. He didn’t hold much hope but if was worth a try, he opened the door and his a huge smile appeared on his face.

‘You lucky son of bitch.’

He picked up the assault rifle and familiarised himself with it. It was loaded and ready to go. Slinging it on his back, he walked back over to the Bedford truck like he was invincible, and then transferred two boxes of ammunition to his truck. The day was getting better and better he thought as he climbed into his truck and continued his journey south.

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