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Chapter 19

Chapter 19

Jason had driven for an hour along the empty motorway, swerving around the occasional abandoned car or van, but other than that the going had been good. The last road sign that he passed stated that he was eighteen miles away from London. He was intending on stopping in the city to look around for survivors, maybe even find that the city was protected by the army and he could live in their protection. He snapped out of his daydream as his eyes noticed a blockage on the motorway up ahead. Bringing the pickup to a stop about quarter of a mile or so from the blockage, he carefully observed the scene. It looked like there had been a pile up, cars were crumpled together as if welded in a huge train of wreckage. Lorries had jack-knifed and some had overturned. The motorway was impassable, but that wasn’t what concerned Jason. His eyes had detected movement among the destruction, slight at first but most definitely there. Instinct told him to turn around and never look back but his mind was curious. He edged the Ford closer for a better look. He was now less than two hundred metres away and could clearly see a figure wondering aimlessly amongst the wreckage. It was a man. Blood streaked down his face and his clothes were stained crimson. He was clearly lost and in shock. Jason opened the door and stepped out.

‘Are you okay?’ He shouted ‘Can I help?’

The man looked over but then his head went back down and he staggered on. Moments later a screech ripped through the air, followed by several others. Screamers appeared as if from nowhere, all of them descending on the lone soul, tearing at his flesh with their mouths. Jason was repulsed, he had seen a lot of things in is life but this was just horrible. The worst way to die. Grabbing the assault rifle, Jason took careful aim and pulled the trigger. A single bullet slammed into the man’s forehead, instantly putting him out of his misery. The Screamers simultaneously swung their heads around and glared in Jason’s direction. They were angry and one of them stared harder than the others, its eyes almost burning into Jason.

‘Ooooh, shit’ Jason said as he fumbled with the gun.

The Screamers began to charge as Jason climbed back into his truck. He slammed it into reverse and hit the throttle. The original group of charging Screamers were joined by at least ten others, all of them screeching as they chased after Jason. Finding it hard to steer in reverse, Jason slowed and swung the pickup around. Stopping, he quickly opened the door and aimed.

‘Number one… I don’t like being chased,’ he said as he fired a shot and knocked down one of the stampeding creatures. ‘And number two… I hate Screamers.’ He fired off a round of shots, hitting three or four of the Screamers before they got too close and he lost his nerve. Jumping back in his truck, he sped away, the wrong way down the motorway.

After several miles, Jason pulled onto a slip road and left the motorway. Pulling over, he took a moment to calm down and work out his next move. He still wanted to take a look at London, if the army was going to be anywhere, it would be London. But after his last encounter with the Screamers, he was thinking more about a quick drive through London without stopping. If it was clear of Screamers, he would stop. If it wasn’t clear, he would get out of there as fast as he could. He pulled back onto the road and followed it until he reached a roundabout. Glancing up at a road sign, he followed directions for the M25 and joined the motorway.

After about ten miles, he left the motorway and approached the city on a minor road. This road was clear and he followed it all the way through to the city centre. It had been years since Jason had been to London, he had always found it too busy, too much noise and too much going on. Even now when it was empty, he felt claustrophobic with no means of escape. He reached the place that he thought would hold the most hope of finding the army, Buckingham Palace. There was no army. There was nothing, no people, no Screamers, nothing. The London Eye sat motionless in the distance, its glass carriages filthy and dulled from a year’s worth of grime. The hands on Big Ben where stationary at two-seventeen and a double decker bus blocked one half of the road. He moved on to Downing Street. Weeds grew in the gutters and the plants and trees seemed like they were taking over the city, but again, he found it empty of any people.

This wasn’t good, he thought. What if there was no one else left? What if he was the last human alive in the United Kingdom, or worse still, the World? He had no idea how far the virus stretched. He turned his truck around, took one last look, and then headed west out of the city.

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