I never thought I’d see my home again after the incident. I’ve been away for almost two years—running, screaming, and fighting. There is probably nothing left there. Nothing. Nothing at all. Even the word nothing carries no emotional charge. No worry or regret … it is what it is, and we all have to do deal with it. Well, everyone who is still alive has to do deal with it.

The underground tube barely makes it to a halt, screeching and scraping to the platform.

‘We’re here,’ I shout, pushing myself up from a tube seat and brushing off dust … or human ashes (you can’t tell anymore what it is) from my khaki trousers.

‘Becky, you sure you can do this?’ Helen says, coming out of the driver control booth. She wipes away a trickle of sweat from her brow. ‘I know it’s back home bu—’

‘I’m fine,’ I say. ‘We have to come back, don’t we?’

Helen shrugs her shoulders. ‘What if we are wrong?’

‘We won’t know if we don’t try, right? And thank god you know how to operate trains.’

‘My Dad showed me when I was younger … I’m surprised I still know how.’

Helen has been with me from the start of all this mess. We started high school together, and when I was deemed the blonde bimbo with big tits by the School rugby team because I didn’t sleep with Greg (the quarterback), she was the only one who stood by my side and fought the assholes off.  She never left my side and to be honest she couldn’t really as she was staying over at my place the night it all happened—we still haven’t found her parents and mine are dead.

I nod and pry open the blood-stained tube doors with a crowbar I keep in my rucksack (I didn’t need the machete tucked in its sheath on my waist yet). With a heave, the doors open. Crackling sounds and sparks erupt at the edges of the door. Possibly, from an electrical disruption or from blood getting caught in the wires.

We walk off the platform, and the first thing I see is the Cutty Sark Station sign, ripped in half; claw marks lined down what’s left of the turquoise background and white lettering signage.

‘They can’t be here … can they?’ Helen says.

‘I doubt it.’ I say, keeping a watchful eye around the station. It’s cold and empty. The opposite platform is quiet and still—the smallest sound would echo down the tunnel. ‘Let’s keep on moving.’

Outside the station, a breeze rustles up some newspapers resting on the cobbled road. RUN AND HIDE! Reads one of the newspapers before it brushes across the street and into the air. The atmosphere is dense, yet tranquil at the same time … I can’t explain it. It must be the feeling of home, but not home as it used to be. To our right leads to the market and university of Greenwich. To our left takes us down towards Deptford or the overground station. ‘This way,’ I say to Helen, jerking my head towards the University and Market.

We pass the book store; memories of my Mum buying me the latest Stephen King novel slip into my head and the smell of coffee fills my nostrils remembering the coffee trips we would take afterwards. My mum would tuck a length of my hair behind my ears and stare into my blue eyes and say how proud she was of me. We would giggle about my boy troubles from school even though at the time I was only thirteen. My Dad would roll his eyes and warn me of the indecent creatures that boys are and would grow to become—I never listened. My eyes swell at the thought, and a flush of heat warms my face, but I hold on. I cannot let go now. It is all too familiar now. Rather than finding peace here, I find tragedy, loss, and heartache.

‘Becky…? Hello?’ Helen calls.

I focus, and Helen is across the road waving me over.

‘You alright there, gloomy boots?’

I shake the memory off. ‘Yeah, all good. Just weird being back, you know.’

‘I don’t … and kinda don’t want to know. I’d rather head to the safe place as fast as we can.’

The safe place is exactly what the name suggests: A place that is safe from the monsters. A place protected and guarded. A place to regrow our numbers and come up with a way to destroys those that have taken what is ours.

The wind picks up. I tie my hair into a bun and Helen ties hers into a ponytail. From behind the University, a blanket of grey and white clouds loom towards us—tight and ready to burst. We keep on moving and decide to enter the Greenwich Market in search of food and water, plus it shelters us from the storm if it decided to come early.

The stalls are still there surrounding the area, but not like they used to be. Some stalls are decorated with dirty, worn-out hats; ripped, messy jackets; tarnished, broken jewellery; or crumbling and torn books. Other stalls have pans with old food spilt over, mould creeping up spaghetti, pizza, and other foods I can’t make out.

‘Well, that’s that, isn’t it,’ Helen says.

‘Wait … do you hear that?’ I say.

The wind hisses from behind us as we stay still, but a faint murmur reaches my ears … a sound … a call. Someone is calling us. Someone knows we are here.

‘Sounds like ‘‘treacle’’,’ says Helen, squinting.

‘Tre—trick—tra—’ is all I can make out. It’s like whispering, but they want you to hear from afar. I edge closer, drawn to the mystery.

‘Becky, don’t.’

‘Someone could be hurt, or it could be nothing,’ I say, taking another step forward.

Tent fabric from one of the stalls flings into the air in front of me, up and down from the wind.

‘Trick—trapp—trea—trick—’ I can hear. The sound gets louder.

‘Becky,’ Helen calls. ‘This is a bad idea. Let’s go.’

‘Wait,’ I say, stepping over the tent fabric. My steps are slow and steady. My fingers close around the handle of the machete resting on my belt, ready to unsheathe if I need to take action.

The sound stops. I’m in the middle of the market. The wind is whistling, and the sound of leaves swishes around me.

‘It stopped,’ I say. ‘Can you hea—’ I turn around. Helen is not alone. Behind her stands a slender, dark figure with piercing white eyes. ‘HELEN!’

The creature screams, but it’s deep and scratchy. It wraps its hands around Helen’s throat before she can scream. She chokes as it lifts her from the ground. I run towards her, pulling out my machete, ready to attack.

The creature arches its head back and opens its mouth wider and wider, fangs springing out of its gums like cats’ claws, before flinging its mouth forward, sinking its teeth into Helen’s shoulder. Helen closes her eyes in pain. Her face turns grey, life draining out of her body as her mouth slowly opens and hangs.

‘NO!’ I jump and with all my force swing the machete down on the creature’s head. The metal blade collides with the creature’s skull, sinking into the flesh with a squishing sound. It screams and lets Helen go, dropping her to the ground. The creature slumps to the ground and lays motionless, a dark red ooze pouring out of its head.

‘Get up!’ I say, pulling her up and swinging her arm over my shoulder. ‘Now!’ Helen moans and opens her eyes. I feel her weight lifting—she is fighting.

The creature is dead, but not for long. These bastards regenerate pretty quickly. Helen and I make our to Greenwich park as quickly as we can, passing the University and through a gate leading to the green park by the Greenwich observatory.

‘W-we m-made it,’ Helen mumbles.

I pull a smile. ‘Yes, yes we have. Just a little further … we need to get to that dome.’ The observatory lay on top of a hill in the park, up to a pathway that felt like miles. My legs were caving in, and Helen’s weight seemed to double somehow. I looked at her and saw dark red foam oozing out of her mouth—she needed medical help. I pushed on, managing to get Helen to ease off of me a little, but every and now then I’d get a drop of her weight back on me causing my legs to shake and bend.

‘Almost there,’ I say when I hear the screech from the creature in the market. It’s back alive. This is the time I need Helen to push hard. ‘Come on, Helen, it’s alive.’

Helen mumbles something, but I feel her weight lightening and her legs moving forward. The observatory is few metres away when I feel claws dig into my shoulder. I yelp and drop Helen, her nails tearing through my sleeve. I look at her, but it’s no longer Helen. She is darker, taking a shade like night … ghostly and slender. Her eyes that were once brown have turned bright white, her pupils diminishing into nothingness. Her hands have grown a few centimetre’s while her nails resemble sharp blades.

‘Helen?’ I say, holding back a scream and tears. She cocks her head to the side, figuring out what I said, but intrigued at the same time. She licks her lips.

There’s a loud bang and instinctively duck. Helen screams, but it's not her voice there anymore. It’s something darker and evil. Her arm is wounded—a gunshot wound. I turn around to find a woman with long blonde hair running at us with a gun in her hand pointed straight at me … at Helen. Before I can stop her, she fires another round, and it hits Helen in the forehead. She flies back and hits the grass.

I don’t have time to cry as the woman grabs onto my arm and thrusts me behind her when I feel a swipe of wind to my side.

‘Stay back!’ she yells, pointing her gun at whatever tried to attack me: another gunshot fire and another scream. ‘There’s two? Where’d the other come from?’ the woman says.

‘M-ma-market,’ I manage to say, finding my words.

‘Have you been bitten?’

‘W-what … Helen. My friend,’ I say.

The woman grabs onto me and stares me down. She has bright blue eyes like me … she looks familiar. ‘Have you been bitten?’ she says, again.


‘Good, now, let’s go.’ The woman walks ahead and towards the observatory. ‘Hurry up,’ she says before I start to follow her.

‘Who are you?’ I say, heaving myself up to the top of the hill.

‘Don’t worry about that, Becky.’ The woman knows my name. ‘Your mother will tell you all about it when we are safe inside.’

August 24, 2019 01:39

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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