Character Focus

43. What Do Animals Eat? Part 2

43. What Do Animals Eat?  Part 2

The herd of buffalo charged away across the paddock then gathered nervously on the far side. Walter found them impressive creatures, with their powerful bodies and thick brown fur. Some did look rather thin though.

That’s your fault, Bob, said Howl as he sat on the grass.

40. Spar Wars

40. Spar Wars

Lady Rose led ‘Little’ Jenny into one of the gym’s practice rooms. They hadn’t sparred like this for months but she could tell the bodyguard was unsettled by the recent promotion of Gudu, Rose’s chief enforcer. Now was the time to spend some time together; boost her confidence and perhaps improve her fighting skills. Rose had Jenny, Gudu and others to protect her but she was also a capable martial artist herself. She felt that someone of her diminutive size had to compensate with superior skill. The bodyguard was very strong and powerful but she needed to work on her agility.

39. The Showman

39.  The Showman

Most residents of San Lazaro had no idea that the Cistern Club even existed. It was an exclusive venue which showcased cutting edge music, film, virtual reality and art. The performances and creatives on show were unusual, yet few were as unusual as the venue itself. After the Great San Lazaro Fire of 1903, huge cisterns had been created below the city to store water in the event of another conflagration. Many had since been filled in but the club was housed in an accessible example close to the surface. Converting the underground space into a luxurious club hadn’t been cheap but the owners had wanted something unique.

38. To Kill, or Not to Kill...

38. To Kill, or Not to Kill...

Karina ‘Bolt’ Ivanova walked out of the silent apartment block and sat down on a nearby bench. She was glad that Aunt Nadia had been relocated to a safe zone but disappointed that she wouldn’t get to see her. Hopefully the phone networks would be restored before too long and they could at least talk.

30. Curiosity... and the Cat

30. Curiosity... and the Cat

Jane knew she had to leave.

It wasn’t just because she felt sure her owner, Howard, wasn’t coming back; something had changed and she felt different now. Though she’d spent much of the last few weeks inside the house, she had also patrolled along the walls, watching what was going on. She had seen many of the human craft with flashing lights; and many people wearing green and black carrying weapons. She had also seen others fighting and three different groups trying to get into the house. But Howard had always been careful to keep it very safe: the walls were high and the doors were strong.

29. The Daring Escape

29.  The Daring Escape

Fei had to search three cabinets before she found it. With the metal drawer open, the narrow beam of the flashlight illuminated a black, rectangular object that looked very much like a DNA drive. But Fei had memorised the images Lady Rose had sent and she knew what this was. By lifting the object and clicking a button hidden within a cavity, she activated the prototype

28. Fly Like an Eagle

28. Fly Like an Eagle

Athena was tired. She had been up patrolling the skies for much of the previous day and was now resting on her favorite perch – a metal strut close to the elephant enclosure. Below, the other animals were gathered, eating from a box of fruit that Walter had found somewhere.

26. Strange Packfellows

26. Strange Packfellows

The animals had decided that they needed to keep watch. It made sense that Howl and Athena – with their exceptional eyesight – should guard them during the night. On this particular night, Howl took the first watch. He sat on a small hill above where the other animals slept, close to Jugger’s enclosure. Before the Awakening and all the humans had left, the hill was a place where they gathered at tables to sit and eat food. To keep himself awake, Howl would regularly lope around to get different views of the area. His eyes were so good that he could occasionally even make out the humans far beyond the zoo.

25. A Moment of Weakness?

25. A Moment of Weakness?

It was a shock but not a surprise.

Nikki had observed an increasing number of helicopters in the skies above San Lazaro since the crisis had started. Every day there were more of them: police and army choppers, hired transports, private birds. She reckoned it was only a matter of time before a collision occurred. When it did, it happened only a block away.

24. The Beast Unleashed

24. The Beast Unleashed

Bob wasn’t quite sure what to do with his freedom. It had taken a day and a night for him to realize his handlers weren’t coming back. He’d always wondered if he could just reach through the bars, grab the key from the hook with his special paw, put the key in the lock and turn it. It was easy. Everything seemed easier now for some reason. In fact, over the last few days he’d even been able to understand what the handlers were discussing. He knew that something was very, very wrong.

23. A Cage of One's Own Making

23. A Cage of One's Own Making

Jugger knew things were different. Before the Awakening, she understood almost nothing of what her handler said. She had three handlers actually, but was most fond of Annie, who’d been there from the beginning. Before the Awakening, she hadn’t even known Annie’s name but now everything was a lot clearer.

22. Hanging with the Family

22. Hanging with the Family

‘Any more planes this morning?’ asked Aunt Grace as she entered the kitchen.
    Jenny was sitting at the window, an untouched mug of coffee in front of her. The ninth-floor apartment gave them a good view over San Lazaro and she had counted at least thirty different military aircraft during the previous day.
    ‘Not today. Quiet.’

21. Red Rose Rising

21. Red Rose Rising

Rose sat beside the accountant, watching as the man’s eyes scanned the rows of numbers on the screen. The secret rooms below Chen Office Supplies were large and luxurious but they had never quite managed to rid the underground chambers of a dank smell. Rose didn’t enjoy spending time here but it was a highly secure location. She felt like asking the accountant if he was close to finishing but she’d already done so twice and there was no sense hurrying the man. This had to be done right.

20. Let Us Not Become Weary in Doing Good...

20. Let Us Not Become Weary in Doing Good...

It was Thug’s turn for guard duty at Auto Technology Solutions. Second shift had just started, and he’d agreed to cover for Lucky, who was making a run to the homeless shelter.

The afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the city, as dirty and messed up as it was. Thug didn’t even look at the buildings. He was too busy appreciating the sky over his head; a beautiful sight he had rarely seen while behind bars. Ten whole years had gone by, and the entire city had changed.

19. The Kind-Hearted Canadian

19. The Kind-Hearted Canadian

Lance was one of the last people to leave the Blue Sky Hotel. In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, most of the guests and staff had departed. Lance could understand the panic but he had every confidence in the authorities to get the situation under control. It soon became evident that might take some time; and by then the airport was closed.

18. Republic Square Riots

18. Republic Square Riots

The trucks stopped at the crossroads. Corporal Karina Ivanova - known as ‘Bolt’ on account of her love for sniper rifles – was one of the last out. It had been a bumpy ride; the truck was no military vehicle but some rusty heap ready for the scrapyard. Her unit had only been in San Lazaro for twenty-four hours and there wasn’t enough transportation to move them all.

17. Cocktail Hour

17. Cocktail Hour

Sergiy Vovk had been stuck in the building for a day and a night. After a fruitless search for an old friend, he’d been forced to seek refuge when he encountered the largest group of Crazies seen yet. Most of the apartments in the building had been locked but one had already been broken into and it was here he spent the night (after blocking the door with a couch and a freezer). From his vantage point at the kitchen window, he had a good view of Jackson Avenue and he hadn’t seen a Crazy for half an hour. Time to go.