Swylce

Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

After Diary – October

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02/10

Got a new bunch of survivors in today. Group of teenagers from Hillhead High. They said they would’ve been here sooner, but they stopped and checked for people in nearly every house, shop and flat between the west end and here. I’m guessing they’re all Immunes, since they should’ve all been at school when the plague hit.

Leader’s a 16 y/o boy called JJ. He said they left most of the younger immunes back with the surviving students and lecturers and came here to see if we had any electricity or working tech. Did he really think anything in Buchanan Galleries would have working tech if the uni didn’t?

Sent them on to Osian, he’ll see if they’re immune and check any other health problems. That’ll get some grumbles from Old Eddie, since it’s been weeks since Osian looked him over and he’s always complaining of pain. I’d really hoped one of them wouldn’t ask the usual stupid questions, but of course one girl – when I told her who Osian was – asked if we had any idea what the Plague was. Stupid bint. Not even the best chemist could explain ninety-something % of people just falling to dust for no reason.

Still, it’ll be good to have young folk for work on storage, and maybe some of them can train up to help Osian. Can’t believe it’s October. Still haven’t found all the non-spoiled food, or all the seeds we need for when spring comes around. The green’ll have to do for them, but I’m sure the first crop will taste like piss and heroin no matter what. At least a few people know how to grow plants – old people good for something!

Another girl asked if we hadn’t gotten a generator yet, saying the infirmary must have one. Had to explain it doesn’t have enough power for more than a day, and we’d have to take most of us away from everyday work just to find it, let alone move it. Keeping the rats away is more important. We have plenty of fur and fake-fur and duvets and all things to warm us up as it gets colder.

She said she just wanted a hot shower. Manky bastards have been washing in the Kelvin in the west end, and I don’t care what they say, it’ll be years before all the muck runs out of that dump. Told her to make like chinchillas and rub the dirt of with sand. God knows we’ve plenty of useless fucking smelly liquid too keep away the stink.

A boy, young one, said couldn’t we just use it to check the net and see if anywhere else was affected, and we all had to explain how everything went down within hours of the Plague hitting. Dumb fucks just think this stuff runs magically without people to maintain it. I miss being able to imagine that too. Mentioned that all the international students are crying back at the uni, and all the English and rest-of-Scotland people not knowing whether their families are alive. Scouting groups haven’t come back from Leith, let alone Edinburgh. They always get caught up in the East End somewhere. Osian says the biggest mistake we ever made was stopping using carrier pigeons. Made me laugh for the first time in a long while.

 

05/10

JJ’s girlfriend, Crystal, is pregnant. Free condoms in every shop, and a shop every three feet, and still the eejit managed to get her pregnant. Relieved, coz I thought she was chucking up bad food and Christ we can’t have cholera or any 19th century shit before we find a living sewage worker, or a plumber that’s not Eddie. Pissed off too, coz the chances of her living through birth are shit if a single thing goes wrong, and she’s tiny.

Most everyone else is happy – continuation of life is good for morale, I guess. Wonder what they would have said before the Plague. No more overpopulation/burden on the state Daily Mail bullshit, huh?

Took Crystal into the shops for bagging up, since she was a bit lost and I guessed some easy work would cheer her up. Had to explain how we find all the bags in the shop – we were in Internacionale under the station – and pack all the excess clothing (so all of it) into them, to protect them from damp and drips and rats and moths, for when we’ll need them. I thought telling her that she can just take whichever clothes she fancies and bag the rest would cheer her up, but I guess she’s used to just taking things now and doesn’t find it fun anymore. I know how she feels. When I first realised I could just take anything I wanted, I felt like I’d been let loose in the sweetie shop (in some literal way I was). But the buzz wears off when there’s no-one to chase you, or congratulate you, or even care – when it’s all just sitting there waiting to be taken. And when you realise that all this has got to last you for weeks and months, then it’s not fun any more.

‘Are we gonna burn them when it gets cold?’ she asked.

‘We’ll wrap up before we start burning things,’ I said, though I know full well that Eddie and Mark and Claire are all going to start a fire as soon as they get the chance, since there’s plenty of lighters and flammables about. I just hope they do it in an old pub fireplace and not in the concert hall foyer.

I told Crystal that if we did start burning things, the Disney store plushies would be the first to go, anything with a large amount of useless fuzz and flammable tat. She looked a bit upset at that – you know, the pregnant thing I guess – so I left it. At the end of the day, when we were walking back to the Hall for the evening, she looked confused and I asked her what was wrong.

‘Nothing,’ she said. ‘I just didn’t think the apocalypse would be so boring, that’s all.’

Same for everyone left alive. We expected fire or zombies or riots, but all we’ve got is a fat load of nothingness. We don’t even have bodies to bury. Just dust.

 

10/10

Keep thinking about all the people in tiny villages in the highlands, and all the people on the islands, and how fucking awful it would be to be the only person alive for miles and miles and miles. I’d probably steal a horse and ride it to civilisation. Can’t ride a bike. That’s why I’ve stayed here with the older and younger ones. Osian says I should learn, but I’ve got a whole fucking city centre to sort out and God knows sometimes I wonder if he even cares about us all surviving, sitting in his lab looking at dust that’s probably 50% his own dead skin and the rest made up of twenty different dead people. I’m not religious, but if I was I’d think this was an act of God, wiping out most of the people to start anew.
Most of the teenagers have gone back to the West End. JJ and Crystal are staying for the minute. JJ wants to wait until a scout party comes back with news of other survivors. I told him about the people in Govan, shacked up in Ibrox and the Asda, but he said he doesn’t give a shit about the South Side and just wants to know if any of his family in Kirkie are still alive. Don’t know why he’s holding his breath.

Louise is working well. Says she wants nothing more than a cup of hot coffee, but apart from that I’m glad she’s finally being useful in helping me while Claire and Mark look after Ben. After all, just because she found the kid doesn’t mean he’s hers. ‘Village to raise a child’ and all that – Claire’s been saying that a lot. Back to the old days. Yeah, but with a lot more useless junk. Every time I pass Paperchase and Red 5 I want to climb in and smash them to fucking pieces, all the toy helicopters and flimsy Superman bathrobes. Eddie says they’ll be useful somehow. Back in the past they used to recycle everything, the codgers say. It’ll all be useful in the end.

 

14/10

Worried about how our nutrition’s going to be in the winter. We’ve got a makeshift grill working in the ground floor of the hotel (fires started sooner than I expected) and plenty of pans and things, but everyone’s on the tinned spaghetti and ignoring all the tinned fruit and veg and beans (fucking beans, we’ve hundreds). Osian says don’t worry, people have lived off of worse. Still doesn’t give a shit. Has he never heard of scurvy?

 

17/10

Wish silk was warmer to wear. Wish the shops had stocked more winter jackets instead of “Fall” (wtf?) ones. The guys love their expensive real leather from down near the green – could never have afforded it if the owner was alive.
Louise and Crystal are friends. They’ve been cooking all the stuff from KFC and the other fast food places. That stuff’s so bad I bet it never goes out of date. Like honey. Anything so stuffed with sugar stays edible for years. Thank god for chocolate biscuits. Have restricted myself to three a day. They’re all that keeps me going.

 

20/10

Marie came back today. She looks exhausted but weirdly happy. Says that the East End’s come a long way. All the alkies dropped like flies of poisoning, but all the junkies ran out and started going spare and the last gang members were trying to be tyrants, so it was war until everyone else put their foot down. She’s buried actual bodies – that anyone could kill anyone after the Plague makes me fucking sick.

‘But the community’s come together,’ she said. ‘All the decent people who were sick of the trouble, they’ve all come together and they’re helping each other. It’s a real family!’

‘Does this mean we can finally get to east of Glasgow?’ Osian asked.

‘Robbie and Andy are already on their way there,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry.’

That made everyone happy. The sooner we know if Edinburgh is okay, the sooner we know how to sort ourselves out.
She said she was going to go away again – people in the East End need doctors more – but when Louise told her about Crystal she reconsidered. Still wasn’t enough to fully convince her, though. Said she’ll come back and check on her, and the rest of us, every few months. Flying Mary Poppins doctor, beautiful lady on her bike, has to go where she’s needed like a superhero. Turns out English Lit is even more worthless after the apocalypse than before.

JJ’s said he’s not going to wait much longer, and will go to Kirkie himself. Said he’ll come back and look after Crystal after that. Bet £1,000 he doesn’t. It’s okay to bet now – we’ve all got fucktons of money if we ever need it again.

 

27/10

It’s fucking cold and icy. Even with a whole city centre and more, I can still barely find decent winter boots. Swear it’s colder than it used to be. Must be the lack of electricity. God I miss it. I miss the news, if you can believe it. I miss the internet. Wonderful fucking magical internet. Connecting the whole world. Now I’d given anything for just a working phoneline.

I do not look good in these winter clothes. Dunno why that bothers me so much – I’ve got far bigger things to worry about – but it does. Crystal and Louise have that heroin-chic look that half the girls in poor cities do, where they’re stick-thin no matter what. Try to console myself that at least I know what I’m fucking doing to get this place back up and running, but it doesn’t work.

Might walk to Govan one day. Just to spite them all. But knowing my luck the people there wouldn’t need me and the people here would realise they don’t need me either. Osian says there’s no much to do in winter in agricultural societies, so we should just sit tight and try to make a working battery or some sort of power source. I can’t do that. I can’t do anything like that. All I’m good for is needless busywork and worrying. That day when nearly everyone on Sauchihall street just fell to pieces, I’d never felt so incredibly lucky to still be alive. Now, sometimes, I’m jealous of them.

 

31/10

Everyone’s pretending Hallowe’en still works to Ben. He got annoyed and said he was smart enough to know that Halloween doesn’t mean anything now, if there’s no houses to go round to, and sweets anywhere he wants. Shame. I felt like dressing up for a bit. There’s loads of Halloween stuff in the shops – been there since early September, before the Plague hit. Might get myself some jelly sweets just for myself when I’m reading by the fire tonight. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be halfway through Waterstones by next year. It’s kind of nice to try to concentrate while everyone’s talking, if that makes sense. Osian says I should interact more, but I think just being there’s enough. I was never much of a people person, and that doesn’t change when there’s less people.

Louise is upset because her cheapy clothes have died on her already. Duh. They did that beforehand. Crystal is annoyed because JJ’s not back yet. They never come back when they say they do, the people who scout. Especially not 16 year old dads.

Wish we had an oven. I fancy baking a cake. Can you grill a cake? Sure there must be a way. When Ben was angry he came over to me and we talked for a bit, and he said it’s his birthday soon. Icing keeps, I’m sure.

(That reminds me, must find some water filtration stuff in one of the hiking shops along the road. If everyone keeps washing their hair in bottled water – fuckers, it cleans itself! – we’ll be out of it before the Clyde runs clean.)

Wish book shops had sold less cook books, and autobiographies. Mark and Tom have been trying stuff from the few survivalist handbooks, but most of them apply to living in the forest. Hope the poor island/country people have book like these. Would be fucking typical if they were here, where we don’t need them, and none out there!

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Written by G.J.

10/10/2012 at 3:52 pm

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