The dead didn't stop stumbling just because it was the sixth day since this had started.
Ian Moore seemed to lie awake all night, his joints growing stiff as he laid in his bed his son's absence obviously having an effect on him. As he lay as still as a statue his eyes rolling after the shadows across the room.
"It's quiet without Bradley" he thought. It was, he was a quiet boy.
Ian had made sure of that.
He made his first movement near one AM, as the moon lit the black sky like a silver beacon, as he lifted the silver crucifix that hung around his neck the miniature figure of Jesus gleamed in the moonlight. "Lord, I pray with all my heart..." he prayed to himself, clenching his eyes shut tightly, when he opened them his mind was set.
"I pray for revenge" he mused aloud, a sinister smile spreading under his salt and pepper like beard.
The sun rose like any other day over the city of Delham on the sixth day on the sixth
The very last wisps of smoke were thinning into the cooling air of the city, those buildings that had burnt had reached there end. Like lit cigarettes they'd been smoked to their ends and were now putting themselves out. Hot ashes from gusts across the city, scolded the faces of some of the stumbling dead.
But what was official was that the fire that kept this city alive, the fire that had destroyed it was nearly out. In the eerie silence, whatever remained was also turning cold.
Ian held his head up high as he walked into a late breakfast that morning. "Did you sleep well?" Oliver asked.
"Not really, it's too quiet down there, I know it sounds stupid but it's just odd" He admitted referring to the city. "Who'd thought you get a minute's peace In Delham" Oliver joked, yet his laughs rang as hollow as the empty streets below him.
As Ian tucked into some warmed toast, Victoria walked up to him. "You seen your boy lately?" She asked. "I'll see him today, I need to know his okay" Ian lied.
Oliver hung his head in shame over his breakfast at these exchanging of words. Knowing he to would have to visit Bradley and Camden as well.
"You feeling any better?"
"Want anything to eat or drink?"
"Gonna say Not really again?"
"Not..." Bradley paused as Camden bended over laughing "Very funny" he muttered.
"I fancy myself as a bit of comedian to be honest" Camden said, most likely to be achieved in a parallel universe. Bradley had no comment for this. Eventually Camden decided to get try and coax some more out of him.
"You know I'm here If you want to talk about something". Camden told him.
Bradley sat upright in his bed at his words, his black eyes seemed to turn into silts.
"Why do you care so much?" he asked suspiciously.
"It's well..." Camden was rather stumped, but he answered with a weak "It's just the right thing to do. Isn't it?"
"The right thing to do" Bradley echoed looking and sounding rather lost.
"Yeah, caring and sharing and all those basic morales" Camden only realised after he had uttered this, he was addressing a boy who had killed his own mother. He gulped and asked his next question.
"If you don't mind me asking Bradley, why did you kill your mother?"
Bradley flinched, his black eyes were turning a lighter colour as he store face down at his own blanket. "I... I just had too!" He shouted rather desperately. Camden could see the boy was getting very agitated.
"It's okay calm down, I shouldn't have asked..." Camden tried to rush all his words into one sentence, Bradley seemed to settle down. His skin paler, his spiky black hair, now sticking up in every direction. He choked back a sob.
"I'm going to hell" he sobbed.
Before Camden could comfort him. The door burst open dramatically.
"MY BOY!" Ian roared flinging himself at his son as he hugged him tightly, Bradley's face looked ever more blank, his body the equal to a rag doll as he let his father comb his fingers through his hair, and inspect his face "Are you alright? Are you feeling well? I..." were all the questions leaking from Ian's mouth.
Camden didn't notice Oliver had slipped in until Oliver muttered "Camden"
"Look, I want to apologise, to you and the boy for... everything really" he said as he extended a hand. "Don't worry about it" Camden's smile was paper thin. In all honesty he wasn't concerned about the couple ever since Stephanie had uttered her short apology yesterday, Camden was fine with them. His attention switched to concern for Bradley.
Yet Camden accepted Oliver's apology anyway, as he shook his hand.
"Look, no hard feelings, I just... well my wife can get very stressed out and I got concerned as well. I didn't mean to keep punching you like that, I just lost it..."
Camden nodded and told him it was fine as he watched his Ian cradle his son in his arms.
That was a real father.
"You know I hardly ever get that mad, Cam. Last time it happened..."
Oliver was diving into a story about his past that Camden wasn't listening too. He watched Ian, a real caring dad.
Or was he?
"... I just remember hitting the guy, until Steph pulled me off. I looked down and... man..."
He had sensed something off about Ian since the start. That feeling was kicking in again.
"It was fucked up" Oliver finished.
"How is it feeling?"
Victoria had prodded Heather's arm, Mariam had managed to find an old sling in her own room hidden in a closet. A young boy's name "John" had been scribbled onto the cast, with other blurred signatures.
All of these children, now most likely dead.
Victoria shuddered and tried hard not to imagine her two boys six feet under. Or worse.
"Better" Heather muttered bringing Victoria back into the present as she inspected it "Even If I have to be called John for the rest of my days" she noted looking at the main signature.
"Well, as long as you're feeling okay" Victoria said warmly as she went over to go wash the dishes. Quincey was a nightmare with food.
As Heather inspected her arm, the door opened and Mariam walked in with Sandy in her arms, without hesitating she sat next to Heather.
"Hello" she ventured.
"Hey" Heather noted. "This is an improvement" she thought, no screams or death threats between the pair of them in two seconds. "How is your am feeling?" She asked.
That's all Heather had been asked, ever since Victoria had found the sling, from Rose to Quincey, to Delilah. Antonio told her bluntly that "Do you like anal?" both were confused until they spotted Stanley bolting from the room. Very red faced.
Antonio had chased him halfway across the building, seemingly catching onto the joke Stanley was laying into place. Before his parents could rant at him Antonio did, dragging him back to the kitchen and screaming at him in Spanish.
"YO ESTOY TRATANDO DE ENCAJAR AQUI! DEJAR HACER DESAGRADABLES BROMAS! TUS PADRES ESTARAN MUY DECEPCIONADO! EN USTED, EL HOMBRE POCO...!
This only made Stanley, Heather and any else present laugh harder. Right then her ribs had been aching more than her arm.
"Alright" Heather responded still thinking back to that funny memory earlier today.
"That's good" Mariam said, a cliche line.
There was a silence as Mariam inspected her fingers finally she let the burning question of her tongue. "Why did you cover for me yesterday, in front of Oliver? Why are you covering the fact I broke your arm from the group?" Heather took a short while to respond.
"We've got enough trouble as it is, I don't want everyone going off at one another again" she muttered. This was very true, the arguments had driven her up the wall.
"You understand, you could have gotten rid of me, the group would have probably have chucked me out the flat if they knew the truth". Mariam said earnestly.
"Oh come on, were not that psycho not all of us anyway" Heather added quickly.
Mariam smiled at her.
"I want to thank you for your good deed" She came out with.
"Yeah, well what can you say, I'm Mother Teresa right down to the bone".
Mariam chuckled slightly, as did the baby in her arms. Heather felt... rather touched by this.
As they smiled at each other, Victoria looked on from where the sink, the pair seem to have completely forgotten she was there. Listening in to every word she said.
She only smiled however, as she returned to the dishes, friendships always formed in the most odd ways and that's what Victoria loved about life. Whatever hit her she never expected it. Even if it was something bad she knew she could also expect something good with it.
In her sixty seven years on planet earth, she had lived a very fulfilling life and what was best, was that it wasn't over yet. The "Stumblers" had been a terrifying surprise.
Yet as Heather kept conversation with Mariam flowing, by asking her the meaning behind Sandy's name in which Mariam was all to happy to share. Victoria knew that, it was this she would remember in the long term. Not the endless piles of slithering and hissing dead. But the beauties of life.
In Whatever shape or form.