The eerie silence that clung to the city of Delham was broken by a single muffled shouting. If you could strain you ears as you stared across the smouldering city nine days after it's destruction, you could faintly hear it coming from the inside of a flat... a few zombies heads turned at the sound.
In the flat, it was like a klaxon had come to life.
"IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!" Stan was roaring running around the place kicking his tin foil football all over the place. He was so pumped up for it that his tin foil ball ended up sliding onto Victoria's breakfast "Now, now, control yourself" she told him sternly to no avail, as Stan's exhausted yet smiling parents trudged in the room behind him.
"It's like his still eight and Christmas has come early" Oliver noted as he sat down.
"Then I dread to think what It was like when he was actually eight" Victoria mused.
"We didn't sleep for days" Stephanie summarised.
As the others entered for Breakfast things got under-way with a hearty "Happy Birthday" sang to Stan, he accepted it with a smirk "And I got a present for you" Oliver said "Seriously, what'd you conjure up? A dust pile?" Quincey joked, recovering from his last night and how sneaky his little sister could be.
Oliver did produce a dust pile for Stan, a dust pile on a black and white football as Stan's mouth dropped open in awe.
"Where did you...?" he began
"Found it a few days back under our bed, thought we'd wait until today sweetie" Stephanie told him, as Oliver handed him the ball, as he did Stan half hugged his parents and muttered "Thanks" to the pair of them that made them both beam and made nearly everyone else "Awww..."
"Truly, you are blessed family" Ian said warmly, as he laid his arm over his own son. Camden sighed silently from where he was watching, Bradley was fully recovered and as of today he was moving back in with Ian. Camden should not have cared that much, he had only known Bradley a week yet he couldn't help but envy Ian. Or Oliver. For having the children he so badly wanted.
Stan broke apart from his parents before things got too mushy for the teenage boy's liking, "Well I least I have something to do!" he boomed merrily as he prepared to aim his football. "Be Care...!" Victoria warned to little to late as the football soared through the air and hit some dishes that smashed violently to the floor.
"Oops" Stan muttered embarrassed.
There was a dense silence
"Well... were doomed" Camden eventually said.
The day passed slowly, Mariam was recruiting Rose and Heather to bake a cake. "Aren't we wasting too much food doing this?" Heather asked looking at the amassed ingredients on the counter in front of her "We need something to lift our spirits, a little cake is not going to kill anyone" Mariam argued as she began to pour some flour into a large bowl.
"Yeah but we can't make cake's for everyone's birthday" Heather told her, dumping far too much butter into the mix "Well, Stan will grow out of it and the rest of us aren't going to want cake, other than maybe Bradley or Rose" Mariam began smiling at the girl "And for all we know their birthdays are miles off" she mused.
"Mine's in two weeks actually!" Rose exclaimed.
Heather's frown turned upside down as Mariam looked rather blank. "and I suppose you want cake, huh?" she asked through thinned lips "Yeah! I want my cake to be the biggest and the best cake that was ever...!"
"You know I think want a cake too, for my birthday" Heather piled on.
Mariam was silent, instead she was gently instructing Rose on how to crack eggs at the side of the bowl, the first couple of attempts were a disaster but she finally got the grip of it as she began to stir the mix with a big wooden spoon, the little girl covered in flour and her hands coated with the grease from the butter but the young girl wasn't bothered by the mess.
Heather stared on, rarely happy, yet she knew these moments couldn't last.
Stan was pacing up and down kicking the football down the wooden corridor as the black and white blur chipped away the corroding material from the walls.
A sweating, yet entertained Stan wiped the damp dark blonde strands of hair from his aqua eyes and practised kicking at the same spot, still determined to prove to himself he hadn't lost his talent or joy for the sport he loved.
He wasn't aware that Bradley was once again watching him. Yet Bradley wasn't aware Camden was watching him.
"Why don't you go and join him?"
Bradley flinched, but relaxed slightly at Camden's voice as he sat down next to the child "Didn't you used to play football?" Camden asked him as Bradley cocked his head to one side "No, the boys who used to play it didn't like me" Bradley muttered sadly.
"But would you like to play football?"
"Would you like to play football?"
Bradley was confused, no one asked him what he wanted he didn't even know himself what he wanted. He just wanted to please the Lord and try not to sin, he was a blank page waiting to be filled with dreams, ambitions, likes and dislikes he weighed on the question Camden had asked him.
"Stan would just hurt me" he muttered sadly.
"Rubbish, right then..." Camden stood up and before Bradley could stop him the lanky postman dragged the eleven year old forward into Stan's sights "Hey Stan! Bradley wants to play just try not to go to hard on him okay!"
"Oh-kay" Stan said still staring at a red faced Bradley.
"I didn't want to play and I won't enjoy this!" Bradley gasped, embarrassed at the situation he was in, as Stan rolled a ball towards him "Yeah you said the same thing about Quincey's game and now you're it biggest fan" Camden told him smirking, it was only then, for probably the first time that Bradley had no timid comeback. Because he had enjoyed that game, he had liked something.
He also couldn't argue because, Camden seemed to be making sense.
Wearily he kicked the ball rather weakly towards the wall "You got hit it harder than that dude and try don't kick with the tip of your foot try it with the side of your foot" Stan instructed him Bradley turned to Camden as Stan rolled the ball at him again.
"Go on Bradley, I used to be quite the player myself so I know what Stan's on about" Camden said.
"Really?" Stan enquired of Camden.
Before Camden could answer, Bradley had kicked again, although still weak in nature this ball had soared through the air more smoothly and hit the 2 foot mark on the wall, which left Bradley with a new sense of joy and life stirring in him.
He was living not just surviving.