Almost three months had passed and spring was well underway. Temperatures had risen, the days were longer and the nights shorter. The time wasn’t spent relaxing, it was spent searching for and collecting supplies. Medical supplies, food supplies, anything that would help in setting up a new home. Fuel was becoming difficult to find. There were plenty of vehicles around, some with plenty of fuel in them, but the petrol and diesel had gone stale because it had been standing for almost two years. Sometimes they got lucky and a car would start and they quickly siphoned the fuel out. Most of the time though, the car would cough and splutter and ultimately cut-out. They searched the city, shops, chemists, restaurants, almost every building that looked like it might contain something useful. The supplies were then taken back to the Zoo and then loaded into a Ford Transit van ready for when they decided to leave in search of survivors.
That day had come, as Jason, Amanda and the Doc decided that there was nothing more this area of the country could offer them. They loaded up their personal belongings and all three of them jumped into the van, Jason in the driver’s seat, Amanda in the passenger seat, and the wiry Doc squeezed into the middle seat between them. They sat there in the silence for a moment.
‘Are you going to close your door?’ Amanda said.
Jason thought for a moment. Closing the door meant more than slamming a van door shut. It meant the end of the safety of the Zoo and the end of a reasonably comfortable existence.
‘In a minute.’ He said, as he climbed back out of the van.
He took a long look at the Zoo. The big, iron access gates were open and everything was good to go, but still he waited. Amanda climbed out and joined him.
‘What’s up?’ She asked.
‘I can’t tell you.’ He said. ‘It sounds stupid.’
‘Go on. Try me.’ She said.
He thought for a moment.
‘Well…’ He said. ‘When we set all the monkeys loose, I sort of hoped that Myles would stick around.’
‘Myles? The chimpanzee? He means that much to you.’ She said as she chuckled.
‘What? I liked the little dude.’ He said in his defence.
‘I’m sure he’ll be fine.’ She said. ‘What did you do with the Screamer? The Doc wouldn’t tell me.’
‘I put him to sleep. I filled him with enough tranquiliser to make sure he never wakes up again.’ Jason said.
‘Oh.’ Amanda said. ‘Come on. Let’s get out of here.’
Amanda climbed back into the van and a moment later Jason climbed back into the driver’s seat. He turned the ignition, closed his door, pressed the clutch and shifted the gear lever into first. He eased the van out of the gates and then Amanda jumped out and closed and locked them. They had decided to keep the zoo protected just in case they ever decided to return. She removed the key from the lock, put it in her pocket, started to turn around and then she stopped.
‘What are you waiting for?’ Jason shouted as he watched in the mirror.
‘You’re not going to believe this.’ She shouted back.
‘What?’ He said.
‘You’ll see.’ She said.
A moment later, Jason watched as Amanda bent down with her arms open and the little chimpanzee came running towards her. She whipped him and carried him back to the van with a smile on her face.
‘See.’ Jason said with a smile on his face. ‘You love him too.’
The chimpanzee clung to Amanda as Jason put the van back into gear and drove away from the zoo. Ten minutes later, they were heading north on the M5 motorway, toward Gloucestershire, and beyond that, Warwickshire, and beyond that, the unknown.
‘Where are we going anyway?’ Amanda asked.
‘I have no idea. Before I was heading south to see what I could find, now we’re heading north.’ He said. ‘Maybe we’ll end up at my old house.’
‘Didn’t you blow it to pieces?’ Amanda said.
‘Well, there is that little problem, yes.’ He said.
‘So, where are we going? You must have somewhere in mind?’ She said.
‘I figure we’ll go up to the Midlands. Check out Birmingham, see what’s happening there. If it’s empty like the other cities, we’ll head into the countryside around Leicestershire and Derbyshire.’ He said.
‘See. You do know where we’re going.’ She said, smiling. ‘Sounds like a good plan.’