Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 9:12 am

THE THUMP - kieranfoster

Right, the first message went out ok. But I’m bored of waiting for a response. If there’s nobody else out there I’ll just tell our story, and if anybody reads it then at least somebody will know of our survival.

My name is Kieran Foster, I’m 27, I live in Telford, and I used to be a freelance illustrator. We’re held up tight at the Brookdale flats in Wellington, which we’ve turned into a stronghold against the hordes. I live with a group of people, some which were friends before, others were people who lived in flats below. Their names are:

Tom Ward

Eleanor Rogers

Matt Stiff

Steve Hatton

Jimbo and Danny Tooley

Joe Moseley

Hannah and Sophie Davies

Bhanu Hussain

William Lewis

David Farr

Over the past months we have lost two, Will first on the 20th July 2011 on one of the scavenges, his hat is hung on the wall in the kitchen. Then we lost Dave a week or so later, early August sometime, trying to fix the lift up. Will was 23, Dave was 30.

We also have Tom’s dog here with us, Nacho, a Bull Terrier. Tom is the guy who always leads the raids and scavenges and Nacho always goes with him. He can smell the rot before we see them so we know which properties and stuff to leave alone. We run shifts on scavenges. We used to draw straws on who went, but since Will died it got a whole lot more real and some people we can’t afford to lose cause of the skills they got. Stiffy, for example, is our sparky – he’s the guy who rigged the lift controls to our floor and stripped the engine out of the van opposite for power. He never goes on raids, apart from anything else, he’d suck and die instantly! Tom doesn’t let the girls come out with him either. He’s a bit like that, he says that we are only allowed to go out in groups of 3 minimum, one of which is ALWAYS him and Nacho on look out, then we have two for hunting.

Until now we’ve had no way to contact the outside world as we’ve been living off the Hadley shops (past the traffic lights), the Cross Key pub (now exhausted of supplies) and the little shops and newsagents up Haybridge Road. Luckily, not far beyond that there is a car dealers and garage opposite – and safely kept in the garage storage behind the flats is Benny, my mini Cooper, which we’ve started using on runs further afield.

When the outbreak hit, the message was broadcast over the radio. I’ve read most of the posts on this site and it seems like things happened more gradually out there. Here, it went from 1 to 1,000 INSTANTLY. I dunno why, but people were going crazy, looting, fighting, trying to get away. Me, Jimbo, and Danny went to school together, and being the geeks we are, had many nights of drunkenly planning what we’d do if the zombie apocalypse ever happened. I lived on the one but top floor of the Brookdale flats, which we’d decided was by far the best place to hide out! So when it actually happened I got a call from Danny and we just did what we’d said. Most of the people in Brookdale moved away, with one or two staying. We’ve got Lilly on one of the middle floors, she’s awesome, Flat 13 guy who nobody really knows, he just keeps himself locked up tight, and Mad Morris who smells and has an air rifle. The others who are with us are people we either worked with or knew through various other things. I know El through an old job working at a hotel (The Old Orleton). She’s devoted her time to setting up a small kinda garden thing on the roof of the flats. We use a couple of bins for compost and everything we don’t use gets chucked in them. She does her best, but not much really grows up there but it is nice to have something fresh every now and again! Steve, who knew Stiffy, who knew Jimbo, is one of our semi-regular raid guys. He heard on the radio that the virus is something to do with water and it turned him a bit funny. We boil the water to make it safe before we drink it or anything, but he thinks the steam carries it and that can get in your mouth or eyes or cuts, so he nearly always wears goggles and an old spray painting mask I had lying around, and he saved all his hair off (not sure how that helps but it keeps him happy). To begin with it was properly freaky bumping into him at night (since the powers gone down it gets very dark and cold at night), but you kinda get used to it I suppose. Mojo (Joe) used to live on the floor below me and stayed there for the first week or so, but he got lonely so we let him move up here with us. Hannah is Danny’s girlfriend, a really nice girl, not sure how they met, and Sophie is her little sister who’s 15 I think. She doesn’t speak much but I let her use my drawing stuff and it keeps her happy. Bhanu used to work for Dominoes as a delivery guy, but before that he went to college with me and Jimbo. He still has his little delivery Moped 50cc which he loves dearly. Then there’s Tom who I’ve mentioned already – He’ll tell you he’s ex-military but I think that’s his way of saying he was in the O.T.C. at uni some many years ago and rather a few beers had been consumed in that time. He’s a nice enough guy, can’t take much of a joke unless he’s drunk but he’s good with survival.

So that’s us.

Our internet connection:

Recently on a scavenge, Steve, Tom, Nacho, and I took Benny out to the retail park round the back of Arleston estate and raided what we could. It’s always a gamble taking the car because of the noise it makes, you can either walk and be silent but less secure and slow, or you drive, attract attention, and hope you get away with it. When there, we ignored the massacre at Pets at Home and headed straight for Tesco. It’s been very quiet lately. Since the initial outbreak and the months that followed things have almost completely stopped. It could be something to do with the freezing cold whether I suppose, after all I can’t imagine any living person surviving out in the cold, and they’re still human bodies right? Anyway, when we got there the place looked like a bomb had hit it. Large parts of the first floor ceiling were missing or had collapsed, knocking shelving units all over the place. We gave it the usual routine, stood out front, let Nacho give the place a sniff, see if he seemed happy about it, enter. He was usually pretty good at picking up a whiff of zombie, so you can feel fairly safe if he doesn’t leggit. We didn’t really think much of it at the time, but in the distance somewhere in the dark back of the store, there was a faint dripping sound. Always sticking together, with Tom and Nacho on look out, we made our way over all the crap lying about everywhere, quickly and quietly scaling the mess to collect various bits and bobs we’d run out of. Steve always wears these heavy duty gardening gloves when out on a scavenge. He lashes them to his arms with bandage up to his elbows through fear he might cut himself on something. The rest of us just make do pulling our sleeves over our hands. Wheeling a trolly around the parts we could, we finished up downstairs and abandoned the trolly at the bottom of the motionless escalator whilst we nipped up to rummage through the electricals (Stiffy wanted more batteries for his Gameboy). Whilst up there, Steve found something he said could get us online! It’s been so long since my crappy little lap top was online I’d almost forgotten or given up hope of restoring it. Maybe the wireless satellites still work or something? Who knows? Either way it clearly works, hence why I’m able to post now! How slow everything loads used to be the kind of thing that would really piss me off but I suppose going so long without makes you appreciate whatever you can get. Anyway, we picked this thing up which was right at the end of the first floor, as far from the door as you could get, when a strange silence filled the place. It hit you like a wave, like it thumped into you. All the hairs on the back of my arms and neck went vertical and everybody froze where they were stood. The dripping had stopped.

For a moment the three of us looked at one another, not daring to breath out in case we made a sound. I remember glancing down at Nacho who’s tail was firmly wrapped between his legs and every muscle on him was starting to shake and quiver- he was usually ok with the cold. I don’t think I could ever have understood the heightened awareness before; it’s something you get when you’re not at the top of the food chain. Something only the hunted know. A million and one things go through your head at once as you feel your heart suddenly hammer the blood and adrenaline so hard you hear it. The big question that was fixed in my head was “Did that just stop? Or was it stopped?” You stare around you for any signs of movement, then without speaking, each VERY carefully began to backtrack towards the top of the escalator. In situations like that, you don’t hang around to find out what’s going on. Call me a wimp if you like, but the best tactics are passed on by the survivors –

As we reached the escalator we could see something moving around in the shadows below on the ground floor. It wasn’t moving much, and every time it did that was a sickening cracking and snapping sound. In hindsight I think Nacho can’t pick smells so well when it’s freezing cold, and this thing was definitely part frozen. As we reached the trolley and ran out the door there was an almighty, nauseating sound. The zombie had pull itself free, however it had left it’s lower half trapped or frozen to the floor where it lay. Out in the car park, about 70 or 80 meters away stood two figures, motionless at the far end. They were slumped and awkward and broken. They just seemed to stand their, watching us, waiting. We gave them a wide birth on our exit and returned home to Brookdale. I hate going out. Stops me sleeping for weeks.

This all happened on our last outing, about 3 or 4 days ago. At least I’ve got this little internet thing now though. And I can hear the comforting sound of Stiffy’s Gameboy out on the landing.