Chapter Five Part Seven - Forty-Five Degrees

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Having slept for a grand total of five hours, Annalise pushed open the door and stepped out into the bright sunlight of the early morning.

It was a glorious day with blue sky, thin high clouds and a wispy mist just visible at the tree line.

"Morning, Jack," she said, jogging over to where the man stood on guard at the gate. "Anything to report?"

"Not a thing," he replied. "I reckon we're pretty lucky with this spot. Zeds don't seem to migrate this way too often."

"Touch wood," she said, chuckling as she tapped the side of her head. "Sarah's got some beans warming over the fire. The cans are still within their use-by date so they actually taste half-decent. Why don't you go get yourself some breakfast?"

"I was thinking about that, you know?" said Jack as he took a cigarette from the packet in his pocket and lit it, inhaling deeply upon the first drag. "It'd be rather nice to have a supply of things like eggs, bacon, milk and the like. There's plenty of land here that's just going to waste. We could build a small-holding of sorts and keep chickens, pigs, a few cattle, maybe goats and ducks, too."

"I like the idea," said Annalise, eagerly. "I agree, it would be very nice to have bacon and eggs for breakfast on occasion."

"I figure there must be a farm or two about the forest where the animals we'd need are still there and still alive."

"It's worth looking into, definitely. In fact, get to preparing an area as soon as you can and we'll organise a farm run."

"We'd need a lorry to transport livestock, too," he replied, excited at the prospect of getting back to farming. "I don't know about you but I don't fancy moving a herd of cattle along Zed-infested roads on foot!"

"I'm right there with you on that," she replied, lighting her own cigarette. "But go eat something, Jack. We'll all get together later and discuss it further."

She watched him as he made his way inside the hotel, a fresh spring in his step. Then she turned and scanned the tree line before patrolling the perimeter. There really was an awful lot of unallocated space, and it made sense to make use of that land. She anticipated adding to their number before too long, most likely with passers-by like Jack, Sarah and the kids had been, but there was nothing to say they wouldn't pick up stragglers when they were out on a run, just like she had done with Joan.

Moments later Jack was back outside, being dragged along by Fawaz as he tried to finish the last of his bowl of baked beans. The boy held something in his hand, a red and white cloth of some kind.

"What've you got there, Fawaz?" she asked, approaching the boy with a smile.

"A flag!" he replied, excitedly. "Jack says we can live in a castle!"

"Well, I figure there's already a flagpole," Jack said, nodding yonder to the ten foot pole that stood a few feet within the enclosure. "And I did promise the lad."

"I have no problem with it," she replied. "If it makes him happy for a while, then it's fine... We should all be so lucky to have something like that put a smile on our faces."

Behind them something rolled up against the fence and rattled it gently. Forgetting all about his flag for a moment, Fawaz bounded over to it but moments later, he started to scream and cry.

Annalise and Jack were beside him in an instant, looking for whatever it was that had upset the boy and then they saw it. Annalise grabbed hold of Fawaz and quickly pulled him to her, his head nestling into her belly.

Resting against the foot of the fence, looking inwards at roughly a forty-five degree angle was Jackie's decapitated head, her eyes wide open with a terrified look upon her face.

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