Chapter Nine Part One - We'll See You On Sark

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“I figure to save fuel, we only need to have one engine running at a time,” said Joan as she, Annalise, Jack and the two former members of the military made their way down towards the marina.

“But there are five boats, Joan,” said Annalise before it dawned on her what her friend was talking about and silently blamed her momentary ineptitude upon the fact that they had just set fire to several of their friends' corpses. “OK, I'm there. If we rope four together securely and tightly we can have one doing the towing out at the front.”

“Exactly,” the younger girl replied. “It won't take too long to get the boats into position, either.”

Down at the marina it really hit home exactly how much and how many people they had lost. The survivors of the most recent attack were busying themselves loading whatever they had left onto the five boats. Most of their gear was gone and they had precious little food left, not to mention the fact that there were only just north of twenty people now, as opposed to the two-hundred plus that there had been when Annalise, Simon and Joan had left on their run.

“One thing we are short of,” said a bravely-smiling Verity as she saw Annalise approach. “Drinking water.”

“We had to raid the boats when everyone arrived,” Jack explained. “I didn't even think about that. Dammit!”

“We're definitely going to need water,” said Annalise. “I mean, do we even know how far we're intending to go?”

“I thought one of the Channel Islands would be a good idea,” said Jack, still shaking his head over his forgetfulness. “One of the smaller ones, to limit our chances of running into a place chock-full of Zeds. Alderney, perhaps, or Sark?”

“Sark? Isn't that the one where the only vehicles ever to have been allowed are tractors?”

“Aye,” Jack replied with a nod. “Even better, the island has an independent power station and water supply.”

“Plus, it's just a short jaunt over the water to Jersey,” said Simon. “From there we'll be able to check out easily enough whether or not there really is a Zed-free colony there.”

“You're saying I'll be able to have a hot shower?” Annalise asked, forcing a grin. “Well I think that settles it, to be honest. Sark it is!”

“That's the last of the weapons loaded,” one of the military personnel said. “Did I hear something about lashing boats together? I found plenty of rope, if that's the case.”

“Aye that's right, Harry,” said Simon. “Let's get to work on that, and we can get out of here.”

“Not before we've got some more drinking water,” said Annalise. “I don't know how far it is to Sark; a hundred miles or so? If we get knocked off course and stranded, I don't want us dying of dehydration.”

“That's all well and good but I don't fancy going back inland, if we can help it,” said Simon, cautiously. “I'd put money on there being more of the group who attacked out there and you can guarantee they'll be out for blood.”

“A compromise, then,” said Joan. “We head up the Beaulieu River. That way we hit Buckler's Hard and the boat yard there, which probably wouldn't be such a bad idea, and then Beaulieu itself. There are a few small hotels plus a grocers'. We should be able to find drinking water there.”

Both Joan and Simon looked at Annalise expectantly. They needed water, there was no doubt about that, and like Simon she would rather not head inland. With that in mind, the river seemed like the better option.

“OK, but we don't all go,” she said having eventually reached a decision. “Do we have maps?”

“A couple,” Joan replied. “Finding our way to Sark with them won't be an issue.”

“Right, OK. In that case Simon and I will take a single boat, along with a group of volunteers, up the river. Joan, you Jack and Jen take everyone else on the four remaining boats and head for Sark. Leave us a map and we'll meet you there.”

“How many are you taking with you?”

“As many as makes twenty litres of water enough for those in your party. Six of us ought to do it, don't you think?”

“Providing we're sparing with the water, that should be fine,” said Jack.

“Good,” she said, pointing to the smaller boat of the five. “Get everything off that boat apart from five guns and a couple of fuel containers”

It was not long before the river cruiser stood alone and the four remaining were lashed together. Simon stood at the helm, claiming that having driven tanks during training, a boat on the water should not be an issue at all.

He and Annalise along with Verity, Harry, Karen and a young civilian, Johnny, watched as the four boats pulled away from the dock and headed out towards the English Channel.

“We'll see you on Sark!” Joan yelled back towards them. “Stay safe!”

"Aye," Annalise yelled in reply. "Make sure you put the kettle on!"

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