'The Shudder' - Chapter 7

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

Because of the solitary existence Blake and I had been leading in the cottage for the last few days, I’d somehow managed to forget – or at least set aside for a few blissful hours – the terrible scale and magnitude of the disaster which had befallen humanity. Hidden away in our little country retreat I’d inadvertently managed to delude myself that life might still be going on outside our ivy-covered walls, that the world was still turning with all its mistakes and miracles intact.

The visit to the retail park sharply disabused me of this particular bit of wishful thinking. The park was a big, sprawling, impersonal place – which was probably why they’d become so popular in the big, sprawling, impersonal world we lived in. It was split into two distinct halves; furniture showrooms, electrical retailers, DIY warehouses and garden centres on one side, two great ugly giant supermarkets on the other. As we trundled around a roundabout and entered the slip road leading to the park I suppose I wasn’t really expecting what was waiting for us as the huge soulless modern buildings swept into view. These places – the supermarkets particularly – were of the ‘open all hours’ variety. Thus busy professional types, insomniacs, weirdoes and trouble-makers could congregate at any time of the day or night and flash the plastic so they could stock up on provisions and the occasional impulse luxury bargain. My old world was never really asleep; there was always something going on somewhere, some place where you could go out in the middle of the night and buy something you didn’t really need. So when we drove into the retail park I just took it for granted that the place would be deserted, that like everywhere else we’d been to since the shudder we’d find that the world was just one big Marie Celeste, a planet abandoned in a hurry.

So I was a bit shocked – horrified, in fact – to find that the massive car park of the supermarket zone was dotted with a couple of dozen cars and vans. The other side of the park, the boring home improvement bit, was more or less deserted – the odd lorry or car huddled close to the buildings themselves. But as we drove towards the supermarket I realised with a sick feeling in my gut that when it happened – the shudder or whatever it was – people had been out and about here, wandering amongst the aisles with their shopping trolleys, happily spending their cash in the calm of the early hours. And then they’d gone. Just disappeared, it seemed, into thin air – leaving nothing behind except the shopping in their trolleys and their cars in the car park. A wave of despair rushed over me as the magnitude of what had happened hit me again and it felt as bad as it had the first time.

Blake manoeuvred the jeep across the car park and came to rest at an angle alongside a huge lorry bearing the logo of the supermarket into whose shadow we’d driven. The rear roller door of the lorry was open and in the darkness within we could see boxes and crates, the vehicle half-unloaded by storemen who had simply ceased to exist a few days ago. ‘Can you drive a lorry?’ asked Blake, shattering the cold silence which had existed between us since we’d left the cottage.

‘Drive a lorry?’ I said, staring at him blankly. Blake shook his head and gave me a pitying look.

‘We won’t be able to get much in the jeep and I don’t fancy making too many return visits here. We can unload whatever crap’s in the lorry, fill it up with what we need and get it back to the cottage pronto,’ he said.

I looked up at the big, awkward lorry. ‘I’ve never driven anything like that before but I suppose the principle’s the same as anything else,’ I said.

Blake was opening the jeep door. He reached for a rifle – it was, he’d told me the night before, an M16, a ferocious-looking mother with a secondary barrel which, he enthusiastically informed me, launched powerful grenades. ‘Just keep on the right side of the road and remember to stop at the red lights and you’ll be all right. Are you coming or do you want me to do it all as usual?’ That one stung a bit.

By the time I got out of the jeep Blake was already in the back of the lorry, rooting around and throwing out boxes which didn’t take his fancy. ‘Mostly bloody rubbish, no use to us,’ he said as he leapt down to the ground a couple of minutes later. He gestured towards the entrance to the supermarket. An awning covered the glass double doors and rows of trolleys were chained up at a railing. The supermarket doors themselves were closed. ‘Automatic doors,’ he said as he stepped forward and the doors stayed resolutely closed. ‘Jammed when the power finally went down. Oh, well…’ I jumped back as he raised his rifle and rattled off a rapid burst of gunfire. One of the doors suddenly frosted before collapsing in a curtain of tiny glass granules.

I grabbed his arm as he lowered the smoking rifle and proudly surveyed his handiwork. I felt a surge of genuine anger. ‘Are you fucking nuts? Anyone – anything – in a five-mile radius will have heard that racket.’

‘Chill out,’ said Blake, adopting that irritating cool-dude persona of his which really didn’t fit his hard man image. ‘We get in and we get out. Would you have preferred I pick the lock?’

Frankly, I’d have preferred it if we’d just gone home but there was no turning back now. Blake pulled a rubber-handled torch from his belt and stepped through the devastated doorway and into the darkness of the supermarket foyer. I glanced nervously back, half-expecting to see hordes of curious wraiths drifting across the car park towards us. But there was nothing there, no movement save a carrier bag caught in the breeze as it wafted over the tarmac. I hurriedly followed Blake into the supermarket, dreading what we might find inside.

Like many of these places, the supermarket was probably a converted aircraft hangar. But great skylight windows had been installed so it wasn’t as creepily gloomy inside as I’d expected. It still wasn’t a pretty sight through, to see this temple of rampant consumerism transformed by catastrophe into a museum piece, a frozen moment in time. It was dingy, quite light but there were dark shadows everywhere so we played our torch-beams across the floor, the walls, the little instore kiosks where cheery simple-minded shop-girls had only recently sold cigarettes to under-age kids and chocolate bars to fat women in shell-suits. To one side there was a little booth which dispensed diabolical ersatz coffee, to another side a free-standing display of Hallowe’en masks and cheap toys. Hallowe’en! It was only September, for God’s sake! Sometimes it seemed as if we spent our lives being bounced from holiday to holiday, festival to festival, Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day, like human pinballs.

In the half-light up ahead there were about fifteen aisles, a row of silent checkout desks standing sentinel at the end of each. Blake had found two abandoned trolleys and he pushed one towards me. ‘I can’t believe this place hasn’t been ransacked already,’ he said.

‘Is that a good sign or a bad sign?’ I muttered. If no-one had been near the place in the last five or so days then there’d be rich pickings for us. Conversely could it be that there was no-one left to loot the place? Was it really possible that Blake and I were all humanity had left to show for hundreds of thousands of years of evolution? It was a question I couldn’t help but keep on asking myself…

Blake was looking at the big watch strapped to his hairy wrist. ‘Back here in thirty. Take what you think we need, nothing else. No luxuries, got it?’

I got it. I really didn’t want to stay in this awful, funereal place a moment longer than I needed to. Blake rattled off with his trolley. ‘Don’t bother with the five-items-or-less checkout or we’ll be here all day,’ he called back. ‘And don’t forget your loyalty card!’ I sighed and watched him disappear down an aisle before rallying myself, taking a firmer grip than necessary on my shopping trolley, and trundling off in the opposite direction.

It was an extremely odd experience, wandering up and down the aisles, helping myself. I tried to ignore the trolleys, some of them half-laden, abandoned in the aisles. Could it really have been that the people using them had been happily filling up for the weekend when it happened? I stopped for a moment, my trolley already loaded up with tinned potatoes, tinned meats, tined vegetables, chocolate, coffee, tea, razorblades, deodorants, air-fresheners, and stared at one particular trolley. I ached with despair. The trolley was half-full, bulging with biscuits, baby food, nappies…I tried to picture it. A proud young mother, late-night shopping to avoid jostling crowds, anxious to provide for her bouncing baby boy or girl. Then she’d just vanished – disappeared from the face of the Earth as if she’d never existed. And the baby? What had become of the baby? Had it vanished too, swept away by whatever quirk of Nature had decided Mankind had been around long enough? Or, chillingly, had the baby survived, like me and Blake and Dave the biker? Had the baby awoken in the night, cold and hungry and frightened, crying out wordlessly for Mummy? I tried not to think beyond this dreadful image. I could feel tears in my eyes as I carried on shopping.

I decided to give the chiller cabinets a wide berth. It had only been a few days but there were a few unpleasant odours drifting up from the glass cabinets already and the aisle was swimming with cold water. I glanced at my watch. Twenty-five minutes already since I’d set off. My trolley was so overloaded it was becoming difficult to manoeuvre so I decided to head back to the car park.

That’s when I heard it. A sneeze. A bloody sneeze.

I stopped in my tracks, my hands clasped so tightly to the steering bar of the shopping trolley they might have been welded to it. I looked around slowly but could see nothing…the chiller cabinets nearly flush to the wall, bakery shelves half-full of mouldering bread and cakes. Then I saw the two tins of meat and a little tin-opener alongside them on the floor. One of the tins was open, half its contents missing presumed consumed. Despite my legal background I wasn’t much of a detective but even I could work this one out…

‘Who’s there?’ I said, the sound of my own voice almost making me jump. ’Is someone there?’

I could hear a sniffling noise from somewhere nearby, then a sort of shuffling. I squinted in the gloom, waved my torch around a bit, tried to locate the source of the noise. Some sort of animal, wandered in from the fields surrounding the retail park? Hmmm… an animal handy with a tin-opener, eh? Maybe in a Disney film… ‘Come out if you’re there.’

The torchlight danced across the chiller cabinets and there she was. She’d clearly been hiding out of sight behind the cabinets and now she’d come out into the open, standing there shivering either with fear or the cold. I couldn’t take it in at first. It was a girl, mid-to-late-twenties, petite, grubby, lank blonde hair, wearing an off-red fleece and jeans. She was wincing as the light from the torch lit up her face.

‘Who the Hell are you?’ I said.

‘Please don’t,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry, really. I was just so hungry…I didn’t know what else to do.’ She started to inch her way out through the little gap between the freezers. I could see that her jeans were wet through. ‘I’ll just go, really. I promise I won’t come back. Just don’t hurt me.’ She was white with fear.

I stepped forward to block her path. I held up a hand which I’d hoped was reassuring but it seemed to terrify her more and she cowered back. ‘Please…’ she whimpered.

I smiled, suddenly aware of my overwhelming relief at finding another living human being who wasn‘t Blake. ‘It’s all right, it’s okay,’ I said. ‘I’m not going to hurt you, really.’

‘You’re…you’re not with them?’ Curse me for an idiot but I didn’t pick up on that one – of if I did I assumed she was just referring to the wraiths. I was just so pleased to find her – to find anyone

‘No, no, you’re all right,’ I said, laying down my torch on top of a chiller so it’s beam spread out in a wide arc, illuminating us both. I held up my hands and smiled inanely. ‘We’re just here to pick up some stuff.’

She looked suspicious. ‘We?’

I gestured vaguely behind me. ‘There’s a friend with me,’ I said. ‘What’s your name?’

She looked surprised by the question – maybe because nobody had asked her for so long or maybe she couldn’t remember. ‘My name?’ she said. ‘Oh… Denise. Denise Charles.’

I introduced myself. I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to offer her my hand in the unusual circumstance of our meeting so I just smiled inanely again. ‘You look freezing,’ I said.

She smiled coyly. Hmmm…nice smile. I like the way that little fringe of blonde hair falls into her eyes and she absently brushes it back. ‘Sorry, yes,’ she said. ‘I was just…well,’ she glanced down at the tins on the floor, hurriedly abandoned mid-feasting. ‘I heard you coming in and I couldn’t think of anywhere else to hide. The water’s really cold. And smelly.’

I stopped myself saying ‘Let’s get you out of those wet clothes’ because she might have taken it the wrong way. I helped her step out of the water and as she jumped across the spreading puddles she stumbled and I reached out to grasp her. I sort of took her in my arms. Our eyes met for a second or two. I smiled. She smiled. She smelt a bit funny.

‘You all right?’ I said as we clumsily disengaged.

‘I think so,’ she said, making a play of adjusting her grubby clothing. ‘Look, why don’t I just leave you to it…’

‘No, no…’ I said in a panic. ‘There’s no point in you running off. I mean…unless you’ve got other people?’

Denise shook her head. ‘I’ve not seen anyone in days. What’s happened, do you know?’

‘I’ve got no idea,’ I said. ‘I just woke up a few days ago and…’ I spread my arms expansively and hoped my expression looked baffled enough.

Blake suddenly came rushing around the corner, sans trolley. He skidded to a halt, looked at me, looked at Denise, looked at me again. ’Who the fuck’s this?’ he said.

‘Denise,’ I said, as if he really should have known and was really very rude for displaying such ignorance.

Blake grunted. ‘They used to say supermarkets were a good place to meet girls but I never believed it.’

Denise gave me a ‘This is your friend?’ look. Before I could say anything Blake grabbed my arm. ‘We’ve gotta move,’ he said.

I didn’t pick up the urgency in his voice at first. ‘Denise can come with us?’

If we can get out of here I don’t care who comes with us,’ said Blake, glancing back over his shoulder. ‘Listen…’

I listened. Nothing at first, just silence broken by dripping water somewhere. Then another sound…a machine sound. It seemed to be drifting in from outside – not exactly an engine but some sort of high-powered motor. It was a sound I’d heard before but it took me a few seconds to dredge it up from my memory banks. My face lit up.

‘It’s a helicopter!’ I cried. I made to run back towards the entrance. Blake held me back. ‘Wait, you bloody idiot,’ he said.

‘But it’s a helicopter!’ I cried again. ‘People! More people! God, this is looking good…’

‘No.’

It was Denise. In the excitement I’d forgotten Denise. Blake and I spun round to look at her.

‘No, it’s not looking good. It’s looking very bad.’

‘What are you talking about?’ demanded Blake, ungallantly I thought as they hadn’t been formally introduced yet.

‘I think I know who these people are. I met them a couple of days ago, the last people I've met until today,’ said Denise. She was looking scared again, starting to back away.

I suddenly remembered what she’d said when I’d found her. You’re not with them. ‘Who are they?’ I said, dropping my voice to a whisper. The helicopter sound was quite close now, the machine clearly coming in to land right outside the door.

‘They’re trouble,’ she said. ‘Big trouble.’

I looked at Blake. I’m not sure why. His eyes were gleaming with excitement. He was cradling his M16 as if it was a part of his body. ‘Trouble,’ he said. He gave a little brittle laugh. ‘That’s my middle name.’

So there and then Blake and I had our first proper argument. We’d had disagreements over the past few days, of course – he’d sort of taken the lead since we’d met up and I’d been happy to let him. He’d done things I hadn’t approved of, behaved irrationally and unpredictably and I’d snapped at him or else quietly voiced my disapproval. But we hadn’t really argued; I didn’t feel I yet knew him well enough to engage him in verbal combat – and I couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t smack me in the face with his rifle butt if he didn’t get his own way.

But this was important. This was worth arguing about. This was very probably life and death for all of us. You see, I wanted to go outside, arms aloft, big smiles, we-come-in-peace, say ‘hello’ to the nice people in their helicopter. Denise, anxious and shaking, wanted to run away – presumably through some loading bay or other round the back of the building. Blake though, was trigger-happy. He was still lovingly cradling his rifle and his eyes were ablaze with a violent excitement.

‘So what do you think we should do?’ I demanded after Denise and I had aired our own preferred options. ‘Go out there with all guns blazing?’

‘If necessary,’ said Blake, the idea clearly appealing to him. ‘Think about it; people in a helicopter, organised, mobile…they’ve got the upper hand. We’ve got surprise, though.’

‘Well, yes, I think they’d probably be quite surprised to see some lunatic with a machine gun rushing at them,’ I reasoned. The sound of the helicopter had become so loud now that it almost drowned out our voices.

Blake nodded disdainfully towards Denise who was hovering nearby looking extremely uneasy. ‘And you’d rather run away?’ he said.

‘You know what I want to do,’ I said, exasperated, before Denise could reply. ‘Look, there are people out there, other people. We need to talk to them, for Christ’s sake.’

‘We need to be careful,’ said Denise. ‘If they’re the same people I’ve already met they won’t be happy with us being in here.’

The sound of the helicopter’s engines somewhere outside was winding down. The machine had clearly landed.

‘So let’s take the fight to them,’ said Blake.

‘Who says there has to be a fight? For God’s sake, Blake, there’s few enough of us left as it is. I can’t go on living like some bloody hermit. If there are other people alive, we need to make contact with them, it’s as simple as that,’ I said. There must have been something about the tone of my voice which brought Blake up for a moment. He glared at me and I readied myself for that rifle butt. Then he shook his head, called me something very unpleasant under his breath and started moving away to the back of the store.

‘Do what you like,’ he said. ‘You‘re on your own.’ Then he was gone.

I watched as he vanished along the aisle and into the darkness. I couldn’t believe it had come to this, that he’d run off and abandoned us – me – at the first sign of trouble. I didn’t have time to order my thoughts, to try and reason where he might go, what he might do. I just knew that he’d left me alone with Denise and with no real idea what to do for the best.

I looked at Denise, staring up at me expectantly. ‘So what do you think?’ she said. ‘Really? It could be dangerous out there.’

‘It is dangerous out there,’ I said. ‘But I can’t go on running the rest of my life. We don’t know who’s out there or what they want.’

‘I can tell you they won’t appreciate us being in here,’ said Denise.

‘How can you know that?’ I said.

‘Because I’ve met a few other people and they get very possessive about food and supplies,’ she said.

‘HELLO?’ The voice cracked out of the gloom like a gunshot, rattling around the steel skeleton of the supermarket building. There was someone in the building, near the entrance. ‘HELLO? WHO’S IN HERE?’

Gulp. Time up.

Much to my surprise, I found myself reaching out and grasping Denise’s hand. She favoured me with a nervy smile and squeezed my fingers. I felt oddly reassured by the gesture. I smiled at her and mouthed ‘Come on, it’ll be okay.’

Together we moved along the aisle back towards the checkouts. My heart was in my mouth and my free hand was so moist I could barely hold my torch. We were about to step out into the aisle in front of the checkouts when I decided it might be sensible to make ourselves – and our intentions – known. ‘Here, we’re here,’ I called out, my voice quivering. ‘It’s all right.’

We emerged from cover. Strong torch lights suddenly lit us up, blinded us, made us flinch. ‘WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?’

‘Friends, we’re friends,’ I babbled, disorientated by what looked like searchlights. The beams moved away and after a few moments my dazzled vision began to adjust to the half-gloom again. I squinted at the two men standing near the checkouts.

Two men. I couldn’t really pick out their features in any great detail at first but there were certainly two of them, ordinary men indistinguishable from millions of other men just like them who had walked the Earth a few days ago; but seeing them standing there was a sight as incredible to me as the sight of two dinosaurs manhandling shopping trolleys around the aisles would have been.

One of them was a huge, imposing black man, not much more than thirty, wearing a bobble hat and an enormous green anorak. The second man was taller and thinner and older, maybe a little over fifty, his skin pale and unshaven. He was wearing a battered check sports blazer and grubby jeans and trainers. Both men were clutching rifles which were directed right at us. Suspicious eyes glinted in the darkness, looking us both up and down.

I smiled reassuringly. ‘Thank God,’ I said. ‘We’re so pleased to see you.’ I stepped forward a pace and the two men suddenly sprang into action, leaping back and waving their rifles even more threateningly. They were shouting with almost one voice and while I couldn’t pick out individual words their intent was quite clear; they really didn’t want either of us to move. I raised my hands and stepped back alongside Denise.

‘All right, all right,’ I said in what I hoped was my most placatory tone. ‘Look, we’re not armed.’

‘Just keep back, you bastard.’ The black man spat the words with such venom even I doubted my own parentage for a moment. The thin white man raised his rifle and I could see that it was pointed directly at my forehead.

‘Bloody looters,’ he said, his voice a throaty growl. ‘I ought to shoot you dead.’

‘Looters?’ I said, appalled. ‘No, really…you’ve got it wrong. We’re not looters. You don’t understand…’

‘Shut the fuck up. You’re the one who doesn’t understand,’ said the black man. I’d already decided that he had a serious attitude problem. It seemed unlikely we were going to become close friends.

‘This area’s under martial law, son,’ said the older man. His voice sounded just a fraction softer now. Maybe we had a chance. ‘We’re within our rights to shoot you on the spot.’ Rights?

‘Whose martial law?’ I said, hoping I didn’t sound too argumentative.

The two men exchanged glances as if they hadn’t been expecting the question. The older man turned back to me and grinned. It was a yellowy grin, full of broken teeth. ‘Ours, son,’ he said wryly.

‘We didn’t know,’ I stammered.

Click, click. ‘Ignorance is no defence, son,’ said the older man. The irony of a lawyer moments away from a bullet in the brain being thrown the hoariest of old legal cliches wasn’t lost on me. But then the sudden reminder of my old life seemed to reactivate my old negotiating skills and suddenly I was fighting for my life with the only weapon at my disposal – words.

‘There’s no need for this, lads,’ I said, hoping to win them over by pretending to be their friend. ‘There’s been a simple misunderstanding, that’s all. Look, I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, what’s happened to everyone but I do know that you’re practically the first people I’ve seen in the best part of a week. If martial law’s been declared and I’ – I suddenly remembered Denise standing alongside me – ‘we’ve trodden on anyone’s toes then we’re really sorry. It’s not as if we’ve read about it in the papers or heard it on the news. We just didn’t know. We’re hungry and we just wanted a bit of food. Are you really going to shoot us for that?’

An awful silence fell. The only sound was a keen breeze rattling through some broken skylight windows high above us. Then the older man spoke up again.

‘Just the two of you, is it?’

I thought momentarily of Blake. Where the Hell was he by now? Hopefully far enough away not to cause any trouble. Although somehow I rather doubted it. ‘Just us, yes,’ I lied.

The two men grinned. I felt myself relax slightly as they lowered their rifles and moved towards us. ‘There’s a lot you need to know about, my friend,’ said the older man. ‘Let’s get you out of here.’

And then all Hell broke loose. Just for a change.

The floor in front of the two gunmen suddenly seemed to explode in little spouts of dust and chips of marble as deafening gunshots ricocheted around the building. The two men leapt back like panthers, backing away and raising their rifles which they aimed into the darkness. The older man shot me an evil glare as they moved back towards the doorway. ‘You bastards, you set us up!’ he hissed.

‘No, no…you’ve got it wrong…’ I tried to protest. M16 gunfire filled the air and bullets whizzed around the foyer as the two gunmen returned fire into the darkness.

Suddenly the confusion became even more confused. Denise grabbed my arm, mouthed something which I couldn’t hear above all the commotion, and tried to drag me back towards the aisles. But I didn’t want to go that way, back into the dark. I cursed Blake for his stupid commando assault upon the gunmen and I wanted to try and put things right, get him to put his gun down before he got us all killed. The store had become a battlefield and I allowed Denise to push me to the floor and throw an arm over my head. I managed to look up in time to see the two men, guns blazing, stumble out of the store through the broken doorway. It fell silent for a moment and I could hear raised voices outside as the gunmen presumably made their way back to their chopper.

I scrambled to my feet. ‘We can’t let them go,’ I said, exasperated. ‘We’ve got to explain.’

Denise was on her feet again by now. She tugged imploringly at my sleeve. ’It’s no good, they’ll never believe us now. Let’s just get out of here. There’s a bay round the back, it’s how I got in.’

I felt desperate, betrayed. How could Blake have done something so unbelievably stupid? I turned and faced the row of aisles, my fists clenched furiously. I stared down the aisles as if I could force Blake out of hiding by sheer willpower. ‘You bloody stupid fucker!’ I shouted as loudly as I could. My words flew around the building and bounced back in my face. ‘Do you have any idea what you’ve done?’ On impulse I turned back to Denise who was staring at me with frightened eyes. I pulled free from her tight grip, and ran towards the doorway.

You must realise that I was now acting purely on adrenalin, uncharacteristically leaping before I looked, if you get my drift. I ran through the foyer and through the shattered doorway out into the daylight. There was our jeep, the truck we’d been planning to load up and, just a few hundred yards away, the helicopter settled at an angle across a row of parking bays. My two new friends were already in the cockpit, strapping themselves in. I felt a chill as I saw the big and very grotesque machine gun strapped to a bracket at the side of the chopper. The black man was at the controls, powering the chopper up. The engine began to fire, the rotors lazily began to revolve. The black man spotted me in the doorway, waving my arms in the air like a lunatic, nudged his mate and even from where I was standing I could see the vicious fury in their eyes. The older man leaned across his seat and started fiddling with the machine gun, turning to bear it upon me.

‘Jesus, no…’ I cried out. ‘This is all wrong, there’s no need for this.’ But my words were lost in the roar of the chopper’s engines and the chuk-chuk-chuk of the rotors. It all happened very quickly and yet there was a sort of slow-motion quality about it all. I saw Denise appear at my side. I saw the bloke with the machine gun preparing to fire. My eyes opened wide as I realised what was going to happen next. I saw Denise in the corner of my eye. ‘Get down!’ I cried. I grabbed her and practically hurled her behind the delivery lorry Blake and I had had our eyes on. I threw myself after her just as the machine gun started rattling, peppering the tarmac with bullets and churning up gravel dust.

Now it was my turn to put a protective arm over Denise’s head as the bullets continued to fly, slamming into the side of the lorry and causing it to shake and quiver on its suspension.

This is it, I found myself thinking. This is the end. We’re done for. It’s all over. We’re going to die.

Thanks, Blake. Thanks a bunch.

To be continued...

For The Shudder Chapters 1 - 6 head to our Original Fiction section HERE.


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