I remember when Mrs B told me the story of her Happening. She had been a school teacher in a small town.
The Happening was going on around her and she was very scared. The radio and TV, a radio with a picture on it, told her that everybody should go to their nearest civil defence centre. She told me that her nearest one was the school she taught at, so she went there.
All the neighbourhood were going there and they had all these beds and blankets and food set up in the school hall. All the people started coming there and looking after each other and telling scary stories of what was going on in the Happening.
On the third night a sick lady came into the hall. She had been bitten by an angry man but had run away and got to the hall. People looked after her, but she died in the night. Then she woke up as a Deader and bit some more people.
Mrs B was scared and could see what was happening. When those people died and woke up, everybody panicked and they were running around and shouting. Mrs B saw three children whose parents were biting people and she wanted to save them. She grabbed the two girls and a boy and ran off into the school.
She knew her way around the school and even had her keys to open doors. She found a room far away from the hall and they locked themselves in. The children and Mrs B were scared and tired so they slept.
In the morning the little boy didn’t wake up and Mrs B saw the bite on his arm. She didn’t know what to do. The little boy groaned and started to wake up and Mrs B thought he was going to be OK and she hugged him and cried. That’s when the boy bit her on her neck.
She says she didn’t really feel the pain because there was too much shock. The two girls were scared and Mrs B knew there was only one way to save them. She carried the little boy, who was thrashing around in her arms, out of the room and locked the two little girls in there alone. She locked the little boy in another room and ran all the way back to her house. She burst in the front hall and collapsed in her hallway and died.
When she woke again she wasn’t in control of her body. Something else forced her to move around. Made her do things that were scary and gross. She worried about the two little girls every day.
I saw Mrs B for the first time a year ago. She had told me where her house was. I went there and threw a dead cat on the front step and hid. She came out of the house to investigate the noise and saw the cat there. Her dress had flowers on it and her skin was grey and saggy. She told me she used to be quite pretty once, and I believed her.
Her body grabbed the cat and tore into it, ripping clumps of fur and flesh out with her teeth. Mrs B apologised but I was OK with it – I had seen much worse.
Now Mrs B helps me to understand things. But as I move further away from the village her voice is fading and other ones are coming in louder.
Most of the voices are angry and scared and hate filled. I tune those ones out and only listen to the nice ones. Right now Dave Robinson, a chartered accountant, is helping me understand the right roads to get through this big town. He says he used to drive them all on his visits to clients. His body is trapped in some hardware depot where he was getting supplies to secure his house before he was bitten.
We need all the help we can get Bobby and me, so I listen carefully and tell Bobby what they say.