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´Wren, wake up. Everything·s quiet now.µ She blinked a few times and looked around, taking in her surroundings; Alex was curled up, asleep on the sofa that she was slumped against ² which explained the sharp pain in her neck when she turned to face Hunter. ´When did I fall asleep?µ she asked, whilst rubbing her dry tired eyes. ´About three hours ago.µ ´And that was«?µ ´Sorry, umm«µ he looked at his watch, ´about eleven, it·s just coming up to three now.µ ´That·s four hours.µ He grinned a little, ´So sue me.µ ´I take it you didn·t get any sleep then?µ She noticed the slight redness around his eyes, he·s probably been crying at some point in the night, but she didn·t mention it. ´I had about half an hour, just after one. But then Alex had a nightmare or something and woke me ² something about monsters I think.µ She stood, stretched her muscles then crossed the room and looked through the dirty glass panes. There was no movement, and the only light came from a few flames that hadn·t yet died out along with the brilliant white moon in the sky. ´I suppose we should find whoever·s left.µ Hunter stood, walked over to her and held her shoulders tenderly, ´Stay here. I·ll go.µ She started to reply, but he pressed a finger to her lips, silencing her. ´I·ll be back in fifteen minutes« Twenty tops. Then« I don·t know.µ ´Fine« Just« Be careful ok?µ ´No worries, I·ll be fine.µ He gave her a quick hug, then walked out the door. Wren watched him until he·d disappeared from view, then, after checking on Alex, she went into the kitchen, I could at least try to eat something« And they will probably like to be fed too. She looked through the cupboards and the fridge, finding some fresh bread, cheese and a few yogurts. There was also some fruit in a bowl on the counter, but she wasn·t sure if it was ripe enough to eat. True to his word, Hunter returned a short while later. He grabbed a sandwich and, sitting on the floor next to her, he sighed. ´There·s no one.µ ´What? There has to be someone. I mean, at least someone must have got away ² it can·t just be us.µ His hand shook slightly, he put the sandwich down and crossed his hands on his lap ² clearly trying to hide them. He started to speak a few times, stopping then trying again. He closed his eyes, ´Everyone·s dead« Toan and his family« Mappo« My parents«µ he took in a deep, ragged breath. ´Everyone.µ She looked at him, helpless; she didn·t know what to do. ´What about my dad?µ she couldn·t help but ask, even though Hunter was silently grieving over his own loss. He looked at her, blinking quickly before meeting her gaze. ´I didn·t see him.µ A surge of hope shot through her. ´I have to find him. He will know what to do.µ But something else sat in the back of her mind, he was taken away« There·s no chance that he·ll be alive now« But she needed to know. ´Where we going?µ Alex asked his big sister as they walked down the street. He held Wren·s hand in his left, and Hunter·s in his right. She looked at him and faked a smile, ´To find daddy.µ I hope« His large blue eyes stared back at her. ´And mummy and Mark.µ He added. ´No« They·ve« They·ve gone away for a while.µ Her heart melted, how could she possibly tell him that they were dead? Even though they went to their mother·s funeral, he didn·t understand that he·d never see her again. She didn·t even know where to start


to explain it to him. He·ll understand when he·s older , she thought. I·ll tell him when he can cope with it. Hunter led them through some empty side paths where there wasn·t a corpse in sight ² he knew without asking where Wren wanted to go. They walked around the side of a house, which Wren absently recognized as being her own. It was charred, but still completely intact. As she entered the garden, her eyes immediately fell on the old oak tree that stood tall at the end of the garden. Her eyes dropped and her vision clouded with tears. ´Dad.µ She whispered. She thought she was seeing things as the corpse suddenly moved. ´Wren, honey, is that you?µ he croaked, trying to sit up, but the deep gashes in his stomach had weakened him beyond the point of moving. He touched the wounds lightly, starting at his blood stained fingers as he pulled them away. ´I thought he·d« I thought you were dead.µ She cried, dropping to her knees beside him. Hunter held back awkwardly, the old man was clearly near death, and he didn·t think that he belonged here ² he wasn·t family. ´Not yet« Soon«µ ´Don·t say that.µ ´Wren, Alex, listen; you need to get away«µ tears ran from his eyes as he coughed, spluttering a little blood onto his tattered shirt. ´Before you leave« You have to get the pack-package in my room. I know you can find it.µ He paused again, coughed, and took Wren·s hand. ´I·m so proud of you.µ Frank beckoned Hunter closer. ´Promise me« You·ll look after my little girl. She·s not as tough as she might make you think«µ Frank Wylde let go of his daughter·s hand, took one last ragged breath, then closed his eyes. ´Daddy fell asleep.µ Alex said. An onlooker might have laughed at the young boy·s ignorance, but Wren couldn·t even bear to look at him. ´Wren, why are you crying?µ ´Hmm? I·m not.µ She wiped her eyes and took a deep breath, I can do this. ´Let·s go.µ Hunter lifted Alex onto his shoulders and made his way back to the house. Wren took one last look at her father, as she had done for her brother the day before, and her mother the day before that, and let another tear escape. She wiped it away quickly, now·s not the time to cry.