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Roadcat's Apocalypse KITH Diaries Day 6 - Christmas Eve

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December 24, 2012 about 3:00am - Christmas Eve

I woke in the middle of the night with the dogs staring into the darkness and growling softly. The campfire had had almost burnt itself out with only few remaining embers glowing faintly amongst the ashes. I had slept with my legs in the plastic bag and my trousers were damp from condensation inside the bag, but it was the dogs growling that had awakened me.

I struggled out of the bag and readied the spear, peering into the darkness, when I heard a small voice call out "Hello? Is there anybody there?" It was a child's voice, sounding young and frightened. The dogs fell silent at my command and I called into the darkness, "I'm here, you can come forward. I won't hurt you." I hadn't heard a zombie utter a sound previously, but to be on the safe side I renewed my grip on the spear and crouched down into the bushes. Some twigs snapped and a small boy stepped out from behind the trees, into the clearing that I was camped in. He wore dirty jeans and a brown puffer jacket. His blonde hair was ruffled and his face dirt-streaked. Two clear tracks traced their way down his cheeks where tears had washed a path through the dirt.
"I saw the glow from your campfire. Please can I warm myself by it, I'm so cold!", he said.
My heart melted at the sight of him. My last few days had been a constant battle to stay alive and keep myself fed and warm, how had a child managed?

I quickly tossed some wood on the fire and blew on the embers until the flames crackled and leaped. The dogs, ever eager for attention, took the opportunity to welcome the newcomer with wet, doggy licks and excited wagging of their tails. Instead of being fearful, like children sometimes are, he patted and cuddled them, wrapping his arm's around Gizmo's neck and burying his face in his fur.

He says his name is Ronan and he lives ... lived, in a town about 10 miles south of where I currently am. Apparently he slept right through the songs of the angels that I heard the night the rapture happened! Talk about the sleep of the innocent. He woke up to the sound of an explosion the following morning! Looking out his bedroom window he could see flames and thick black smoke rising from the middle of town. None of his family seemed to know what was happening and the phones, radio and television were dead, so his father got dressed and went out in the car to find out what was happening and see if he could help - that was the last time any of the family saw him. Later on the same day when his dad didn't come home, Ronan's mom went out to look for him, leaving Ronan and his sister behind with the warning not to open the door to anyone.

They ate cold baked beans and bread for dinner and then went to bed. The next morning, when neither of his parent's had returned, Ronan and his sister had breakfast and then got dressed and went round to the neighbors to see if they knew what had happened. They found the house in disarray and all of the family dead, literally ripped apart! The kid's screams drew some of the zombies that caught his sister as they fled and since then Ronan has been running and hiding in the fields.

It took a while for me to understand his story as he kept on crying in the middle of it and getting the order of events confused. Normally I would have made him some tea, but there's nothing normal anymore. So instead I covered my hand with the plastic bag and picked nettles and made him a bowl of nettle soup. It still tastes as bland as ever, but the kid wolfed it down and then nodded off to sleep next to the fire while I sat awake, keeping the flames high and pondering what to do now. It seems that fate has doubled my problem by giving me another mouth to feed, but I can't simply leave him alone out here in the middle of winter. It's evident that my current system of just wandering aimlessly around the countryside isn't going to cut it, with a small boy to look after, so I'll just sit here by the fire for a while and try to work out what to do next.

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