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Day 4

Day 4.jpg


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She kicks off her shoes, leaving mud on the wooden floor. I get out from behind the sofa, trying not to look too sheepish.
‘What’s the laptop for?’ she asks, understandably confused as to why I’m holding it in preference to a weapon.
‘I’m a writer,’ I say. ‘I have this story I need to finish.’
‘That’s your priority right now? You know what’s happening out there, right? I just watched about fifty people go feral back on Donnington Bridge.’
‘Me too.’ It didn’t change anything. I had to finish this story, even if it was literally the last thing I did.
‘You know they’re in the water? Fuckers tried to pull me in.’
I eye the blood on the end of the oar blade, which she drops to the ground. She obviously managed to hold them back. She throws herself into one of the leather armchairs and gives me a frank, assessing look. I watch her sizing me up, clearly checking out whether I’m going to be an asset or a hindrance to her. Honestly, I’m betting the latter.
 ‘Whadda you write?’ she asks.
 This question always embarrasses me. It’s where I lose people, where my acquaintances’ eyes glaze over as they file me in the ‘not a proper author’ box.
 ‘Paranormal romance, mostly,’ I say. ‘Some pseudo-historical fiction. Fantasy, you know.’
 ‘Paranormal romance?’
 ‘Yeah. Vampires, zombies.’
 She laughs bitterly.
 ‘Fantasy,’ she says. ‘Right.’
 If any of us get out of this alive, someone’s probably going to need to reclassify that genre.

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