Psychosis (Wildfire Chronicles Vol. 3)

Free Psychosis (Wildfire Chronicles Vol. 3) by K.R. Griffiths

Book: Psychosis (Wildfire Chronicles Vol. 3) by K.R. Griffiths Read Free Book Online
Authors: K.R. Griffiths
that’ll be the least frightening thing you’ve witnessed today I’d wager!”
    Bill gave her a reassuring smile.
    She nodded, face whitening with the memory of the morning.
    Bill flipped over an empty crate, lowering himself down onto it gently, with a sigh.
    “My knees,” he said by way of explanation. “No one ever tells you to enjoy your knees at your age, you know.”
    He leaned a little closer.
    “Enjoy your knees, girl. Comes a time when you get to hating them, so enjoy ‘em while you can!”
    Claire nodded again. Bill was confusing, but she was gradually warming to the idea that he wasn’t going to cause her any harm. At the very least, he wasn’t going to try to eat her. Which made him the friendliest face she’d seen in nearly a week.
    Bill chuckled, low and rumbling, the gravel in his voice twinned with the thunder above.
    “Have you been down here since... it started?” Claire asked.
    “I started off up there,” Bill said, pointing at the ceiling, “landlord gave up trying to evict me at closing time a while back, so I’m part of the furniture and usually the first customer. He ran outside to see what was going on, I ran down here. You learn some things when you’ve been around as long as I have. Chief among them: don’t run toward danger.”
    Bill plucked the ring pull from a can of lager, took a long, deep draught, grimaced.
    “Warm. Tell me your name then, girl.”
    “I’m Claire,” she replied, her voice small.
    “You live close by , Claire?”
    Claire nodded.
    “And what about your parents?”
    “My dad doesn’t live with us, it’s just me and mum. She…became one of those things.”
    The cheery demeanour fell from Bill’s face.
    “Sorry to hear that , Claire. So you’ve been out there on your own?”
    Claire nodded; her expression downcast.
    Bill grunted as he placed the beer can on the ground.
    “You got nowhere to go?”
    She shook her head slowly.
    “You know, when I was your age, I found myself out on the streets. War, see. I lived in London then. My old man had been an importer – fabrics and such, until he got called up. Just left one day, never came back. The war didn’t seem real then, seemed like just a load of politicians arguing about this and that, the way they do. Then the bombs started dropping.
    “It’s a bit like that out there now, I think, people running around with nowhere to go, death on every corner. Only difference is the bombs ain’t made of metal now, they don’t explode.
    “The bombs are things we can’t see. Can’t fight against, can’t run from. All those years ago it was all about who could build the biggest weapon. Now it’s whoever can build the smallest. And it’s all stuff your average man won’t understand: genes this and molecules that. You understand what I mean, Claire?”
    Claire shook her head.
    “Hah! No, I don’t suppose you do. I probably don’t know what I mean either, but I think whatever is going on out there, it’s nothing to do with nature. It’s not some sickness. It’s us. History has shown it time and time again: when people start dying in their thousands or millions, it’s other people that caused it.”
    He burped, and fixed Claire with a thoughtful gaze.
    “Well, come on. I had help in London, so I’ll help you now. Might not be as fun as drinking my way out of this, but I’ll probably rest easier come the end.”
    He stood.
    “Where are we going?”
    “Out of this basement young lady. Comes a time when you realise there’s no point running from the bombs, not when there’s more important things to do.”
    Claire nodded, though she didn’t understand.
    “Besides,” he said with a wink, “There’s got to be food up there, and I’m starving.”
    He beamed, and threw back the bolt on the door.
     
    *
     
    John didn’t mind the rain. There was something isolating about it, something that meant that even though he walked alongside the three strangers, just a stride apart, each had invisible walls

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