Chapter Ten

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The sun had begun to rise over the city, casting a soft golden hue over the landscape in front of us. I rested my forehead against the glass as I watched the horizon for the fifth hour in a row. The water in the harbour was eerily still, not a wave or ripple in sight.

It felt as though all of Sydney was holding its breath with us, waiting hopefully to see a blinking light, the tiniest silhouette of a ship on the skyline – anything to signal that our rescuers were on their way.

None of us had slept and we had hardly spoken, too despondent from what had happened to Eleanor. After it happened, Lea and I dragged her lifeless body into the hall of the fourth floor while Richard comforted Ash. She had been hit the hardest by the loss, having spent most of the night crying. Richard tried not to show it, but I could tell he was broken up about it, too. Lea and I were disheartened by what happened, but we were coping. Perhaps because we had only known Eleanor a few hours, or maybe we had each seen so many lives taken that we were becoming desensitized to it. Death seemed such a perplexing phenomenon.

Even with all the deaths I’d witnessed, the fact that Eleanor had been there one minute and gone the next was hard to grasp. No matter how abrasive she had been, no matter how aggressive or troubled, she didn’t deserve to die.

A flash of white light caught my eye, bringing my attention to something on the water in the distance. The morning sun was shining on it, reflecting off of it in a way that made it look like a mirage, but I knew it was no illusion.

“It’s here,” I whispered, unable to find my voice. “It’s here!” I repeated louder so everyone could hear me.
Lea and Richard jumped off the couches and stood next to me at the window, spotting it instantly, while Ash ran from the kitchen.
We stared silently as the ship sailed further and further into the harbour, in awe at the magnificent sight of it.
“There’s more than one!” Lea said as two more appeared behind it. I thought I could see at least five more ships along the horizon, but they were too far away to make out clearly.

“Time to go,” I said with a relieved smile. But I knew the real relief would come the moment I watched Australia fade into the distance as we sailed away. I used that image to push me forward, for we still had one more challenge to get through before we were safe.

We grabbed our weapons and ran downstairs. Having studied the streets from the window, we knew we had to turn right out of the restaurant, go to end of the street, turn left and run as fast as we could to the wharf. I pushed the stairwell door open and entered the restaurant, heading straight to the window to make sure the street was clear.

I peered through the crack in the boards just as Eleanor had done the day before, only to see that the street was still overrun with zombies. “Shit!”
The zombies that had converged on us in the street had dispersed, but not enough for us to make it out safely.
“What is it?” Lea asked before peering through the crack herself, answering her own question. “How the hell are we gonna get outta here?”

I looked around the restaurant, trying to find another way out. I turned to Richard. “Is there a back door here?”
“Yes,” he said before running into the kitchen. We followed him, but by the time we had caught up he was slamming the back door shut and turning to us with a pale face. “They’re out there, too. In the alleyway. They’re everywhere.”
“What do we do?” Ash asked, hopelessness all over her face.

A sudden flash of insight hit me. “Is the roof accessible?”
Richard scratched his head. “I don’t know, we’ve never been up there. Why?”
“What if we throw something off it …” I started, making up my plan as I went along. “Something that would lead the zombies away from the front door and distract them long enough for us to get out.”
“It’s worth a try,” Lea said.

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