Where’s Wally?

CARE – contains spoilers for AUTUMN: EXODUS.

‘What’s wrong?’ Dominic asked, immediately concerned. They were on the open road, miles from anywhere, and the van was slowing down. Juddering. Stopping.

‘Out of fuel,’ Alf said, and he thumped the steering wheel with frustration. ‘Dammit. Thought we had enough to make it.’

He blasted the horn, knowing that if the truck and the other van they’d been following didn’t stop, they’d be screwed out here on their own. There’d been far more corpses around here than they’d expected to find. Truth be told, the dead didn’t bother him anywhere near as much as the thought of being stuck out here on his own with Dominic. They’d only been driving a few hours and he’d already had a gutful of his constant bullshit. Desperate, Alf hit the horn again. It was pissing down with rain – had been on and off all day. He was thankful for the hammering noise on the roof. It was the only thing that drowned out Dominic’s noise.

At the front of what was left of the convoy, Piotr kept driving. Behind him, travelling alone in the truck, Harjinder glanced into his mirror and realised he was at the end of the line now, no longer in the middle. He slowed down and flashed his lights to try and let the boss know something was up, without drawing too much unnecessary attention to himself. It didn’t work. The only thing he attracted was a group of gangly cadavers that abruptly changed direction and started walking towards him, arms outstretched. He revved the engine and drove into them, then stopped again.

Still no sign of Alf and the van in the road behind.

Damned if I don’t, damned if I do.

Increasingly, Harj was learning that it was impossible to reason with Piotr. He was constantly second-guessing, and felt that whatever he did would be wrong. So, did he sacrifice Dominic and Alf when he had room for them both in the cab of the truck, or did he just keep going and risk the wrath of Piotr if he’d made the wrong call? At least if I’ve got the other two with me, he thought, they’ll cop some of the flack. He turned around and headed back the other way.

Just for a second, he dared to imagine not seeing Piotr again. Maybe, instead of carrying on to Heddlewick then onto Ledsey Cross, once he’d picked up Dominic and Alf, the three of them could go somewhere completely different. He was tired of Piotr’s bullshit, but still wary of the inevitable repercussions of crossing him. If turning tail hadn’t meant abandoning Kelly too, he might have just done it.

‘But we can’t leave them,’ Kelly said, craning her neck and trying to look back down the road, struggling to see anything through the hissing rain. ‘Come on, Piotr, please.’

‘Fuck ’em. They don’t need babysitting. They’re big enough to look after themselves.’

‘But we might need them.’

‘Yeah, and we might not.’

It didn’t matter how loud and for how long she protested, his mind was made up. He was going to keep going. The only thing that mattered now was getting to Ledsey Cross and establishing a foothold there before anyone else from London turned up. He couldn’t afford to waste time on three useless fuckers who couldn’t keep up with the pace. Dominic had outlasted his usefulness. They were so close to their destination – he didn’t think he’d have any trouble finding the way from here. It was just a matter of getting to Heddlewick, then following the road out of town. Another hour or so behind the wheel, a little bit of grief to deal with at the other end, and then he’d be able to—

‘Jesus, Piotr, look out!’

Kelly screamed and ducked for cover. Piotr had been driving too fast, not paying full attention to the twists and turns of this narrow country road. Blindsided by a tight bend and a copse of trees on either side, at this speed he’d had little chance of avoiding the unexpected blockage up ahead. It was the wreck of a car, jutting out across the tarmac, obscured by more milling corpses. He accelerated rather than slowed down and blasted through the undead to clear the way, skidding in the standing water.

Wipers flashing back and forth across the windscreen at full pelt, he struggled to see anything through the dripping gore. Why were there so many of the bloody things out here?

‘For fuck’s sake, slow down,’ Kelly pleaded. ‘Carry on like this and you’ll get us killed.’

‘Who the hell do you think you’re talking to?’ he yelled at her.

‘Come on, Piotr, please… can you just chill out for once?’

‘Don’t push me, Kelly.’

‘I’m serious. You’re gonna give yourself a heart attack if you carry on like this. You’re the big man, I get it . . . you’ve proved your point.’

‘You’d still be in Yaxley if it wasn’t for me. You’re nothing without me.’

‘I’m nothing with you. We’re all nothing these days, in case you hadn’t noticed.’

‘You think it’s easy being in charge?’

‘You’re not even in charge of your own ego,’ she said. ‘Let me out, Piotr.’

There was a house up ahead. A large, fancy-looking manor set in its own walled grounds. It was all on its own in a rolling country estate, appearing remarkably well-preserved, untouched by the dirt and decay that had ruined everywhere else. Piotr slowed down slightly to navigate another wreck, and Kelly seized her chance. She’d put up with it for a time, because when Piotr and his crew had arrived in Yaxley, being in with the chief had its advantages, but the risks far outweighed the benefits now, and she’d had enough. She opened the door and half-jumped, half-fell out onto the road before picking herself up and running towards the manor house. Piotr tried to grab her as she disappeared but ended up grasping at thin air and losing control of the van. He careered off the side of the road and came to a halt nose-down in a shallow drainage ditch. He managed to keep the engine running, over-revving it to stop it from dying, then shoved it into reverse. The ground beneath the front wheels was boggy, the tyres unable to get a grip. Furious, he got out and grabbed a badly decayed corpse, wedging what was left of its torso into the gap between the wheel and the ground. More through luck than design, the ribcage sank but the dead creature’s spine remained sticking up out of the mud far enough for him to get sufficient traction and get back onto the tarmac. He reversed into another group of aimless wanderers, then looked around for Kelly.

Got her!

She’d climbed over the gate and was now racing down the sweeping gravel driveway towards the manor house.

She wasn’t going to get away with that.

No one spoke to Piotr the way she just had.

He accelerated and smashed straight through the wooden gate. Those of the dead that he hadn’t already mowed down now traipsed after the noisy vehicle, swarming through the gap in the boundary wall.

Up ahead, Kelly knew he was coming after her, but she thought if she could just make it to the house before he did then maybe, just maybe, she’d be able to find somewhere to hide or something she could use to defend herself, or maybe another vehicle she could use to get away and put some distance between her and that psycho and—

Wait. There were people here.

And they didn’t look impressed.

Two men and a woman emerged from the front door of the manor house. Kelly pulled up and tried to explain, but now wasn’t the time for explanations. The woman swung for her, knocking her out cold.

Piotr stopped the van just short of the house and scrambled around for the weapons they’d stolen from the others first thing. Before he could get his hands on anything, one of the men yanked the door open and dragged him out onto the drive. He swung a heavy wrench at Piotr and clubbed his kneecap. Piotr tried to come at him but buckled under the weight of his useless leg, howling with pain and anger. ‘Stupid bastard!’ the man screamed at him, and he hammered his knee again then kicked Piotr in the gut repeatedly, rolling him over and over on the gravel. The other man was marching purposefully towards the walking dead, carrying a felling axe. He made short work of the nearest few cadavers, but it was never going to be enough. With the gate destroyed, short of dismembering every last one of them, there was no way of stopping the flood that had been triggered. He turned around and ran back to the house.

Kelly had already been taken inside. Now, the man and the woman were dragging Piotr along the ground between them. ‘Mortimer, wait,’ the guy with the axe shouted. ‘We need to block the gate. Give me the keys to that fucker’s van.’

‘What are we going to do with these two, Joe?’ Mortimer asked as he hunted through Piotr’s pockets.

‘Find out who they are and what they’re doing here.’

‘Probably just passing through,’ the woman suggested.

‘Give me a break, Maddy, no one just passes through places these days.’

Another vehicle.

Joe looked up when he heard the engine approaching.

‘Jesus,’ Mortimer said, ‘how many of them are there?’

‘Too many already.’

Harjinder couldn’t make sense of what he was seeing. ‘What the hell?’

The scene that greeted them was absolutely fucking chaotic. He’d only been back on the road a few minutes since picking up Alf and Dominic, and already they’d hit trouble. The road was awash with gore. Partially mobile cadavers were trying to react, slipping and sliding in the remains of fallen others. He saw skid marks in the bloody muck. Had to be Piotr.

‘There’s the van,’ Alf said, pointing at their distinctive, blood-splattered vehicle, abandoned outside a stately home.

‘Keep driving,’ Dominic said. ‘It’s too dangerous. We’re so close to getting to Ledsey Cross now.’

‘What, and leave the boss?’


Tempting as it was, Harj had other ideas. ‘I can’t leave Kelly.’

He swerved towards the hole where the gate had been.

‘What the hell are you doing?’ Dominic screamed. ‘Did you not hear me? It’s too dangerous and we should just focus—’

‘I heard you, now shut the fuck up. I’m not leaving Kelly there on her own with him.’

‘Doesn’t look like they’re on their own,’ said Alf. There was a guy coming towards them with an axe, almost at the gate. Nasty-looking fucker. Harj accelerated towards him, but he changed direction at the last second. Committed, Harj kept going, veering off the grass and clipping the trunk of a tree.

They lurched to a halt.

‘Masterful,’ Dominic said. ‘Nicely done.’

The man came at the truck with his axe, swinging it down and shattering the windscreen. The head of his weapon was stuck in the spiderwebbed glass. Harj seized the opportunity to get out and strike back. He wrestled their attacker to the ground. ‘Block the fucking gate!’ he yelled, struggling to keep the furious fucker down.

Hordes of corpses were pouring through the gap into the grounds of the manor house. Alf shifted across into the driver’s seat and pushed the axe head out of his way before reversing back. The wheels of the truck churned mud, and he struggled to keep it moving and steer in a straight line. By the time he’d filled the gap where the gate used to stand, countless more bodies had managed to get through. He couldn’t understand where so many of the damn things were coming from.

The guy pinned on the ground managed to lift his knee and smack Harjinder in the balls. Harj rolled over, feeling like he was about to throw up, barely able to breathe. For a few agonising seconds, the pain was such that it was all he could think about, and though brief, it gave his assailant plenty of time to get up and retrieve his axe. He swung it at Harj who turned to the side just in time, feeling the wind whistle as it sliced past his ear and thumped into the grass. Harj quickly picked himself back up, and before the other man could lift the axe again and take another swipe, Harj charged at him and shoved him hard in the belly, sending him tripping backwards into a gaggle of advancing corpses. He was momentarily confused, assuming he was under attack from another one of the invaders, and Harj came at him again. A well-aimed jab to the face dropped him like a drunk.

The dead swarmed around the fist fight. Harj grabbed the axe and swung it around, clearing a circle and buying himself a few precious seconds. In front of him, the guy on the ground propped himself up on his elbows, punch-drunk. He looked up through the driving rain, blood pouring from his nose, struggling to make sense of anything. His eyes focussed on Harjinder as he raised the axe above his head. ‘Please don’t,’ he whimpered.

It left a bad taste, but Harj did what he had to do. He brought the axe down hard on the guy’s skull. It wasn’t the sweetest blow, but it did the trick. He fell back with his head split open, gurgling and bubbling blood.

When he turned around, Harj saw through the swaying undead crowds that whilst Alf had managed to seal off the country estate with the truck, both he and Dominic were under attack. The other guy from the manor house had the pair of them cornered, backed up against an ancient-looking oak tree that, in turn, was nestled up against the perimeter wall. Harj was exhausted, winded by the sudden exertion of the unexpected battle, and numbed by the fading dull aching of his balls, but he knew he was going to have to sort this out. He could hear Dominic squealing like a pig, trying to hide behind the tree trunk like a kid playing tag with his mates.

The fucker was so focused on Dominic and Alf that he didn’t see Harj coming until it was almost too late. It was Dominic’s expression that gave the game away, but by then it didn’t matter. Harj swung the heavy axe around and took the guy’s legs out from under him, then he chopped down hard on his exposed torso. The axe crunched through his sternum and ribs. Harj tried to pull it free and hit him again, but the head was caught up in all the bits of bone and he gave up and dropped the handle, leaving this one to bleed out like his mate.

They found Piotr in the grand hallway of the house, leant up against the bottom step of a sweeping staircase. Kelly was standing with her back pressed against an ornate full-length mirror. In its reflection, Harj could see the body of a woman he didn’t recognise. She was lying on her back in a pool of blood, a bullet hole in her head and another in her belly. He remembered the weapons they’d been carrying in the van they’d stolen from the others this morning and silently cursed Piotr. The last few minutes would have been infinitely easier if he’d had access to a gun. Typically, though, the boss had hoarded them for himself.

Harj returned his attention to Kelly. She was staring at the woman’s corpse, her mouth and both eyes open wide. ‘You okay, Kel?’ Harj asked, but she didn’t respond at all, didn’t even look at him.

‘My leg’s fucked,’ Piotr said.

Harj feigned interest. ‘Can you walk on it?’

‘Just about.’

‘Looks bad.’

‘That’s because it is bad. Fuck’s sake.’

Piotr used the balustrade to pick himself up. He could barely put any weight on his busted leg.

Harjinder looked around. ‘We should think about staying here, I reckon. Get you cleaned up and get Kelly sorted out and—’

‘We keep going.’

‘You sure? This looks like a decent place. We’ve got the entrance blocked off now and once we get rid of the couple of hundred corpses that came in with us, we could—’

‘We keep going,’ Piotr said again. ‘What part of that don’t you understand? You think we’re going to fight to get all this way, then stop just short of their frigging holy grail? We go all the way to Ledsey Cross, then we stop. If there’s nothing there for us, we might come back here.’

‘Harjinder has a point,’ Dominic said. He’d been watching from the doorway. ‘I think we should probably rest up here a while.’

‘I don’t need your opinion, you fucking fool. All I need is for you to shut up. Maybe you should stay here on your own for all the fucking use you’ve been.’

‘But, Piotr, I really think—’

‘We get back on the road right now,’ Piotr interrupted, ending the discussion. ‘Leave the truck here blocking the gate so we can come back if we need to. We’ll take the van.’

‘You’re the boss,’ Harjinder said, resigned.


‘I’m not going,’ Alf said. He sheepishly emerged from another room off the hallway. ‘None of us are.’

Piotr looked up to the heavens, rapidly running out of patience. ‘Alf, you’ve also been pretty much fucking useless since day one. Now, you’re going to do the one thing you’re any good at, and you’re going to shift that truck so we can get moving.’



Alf shrugged. ‘I don’t have the keys.’

‘You’re fucking kidding me. Where are they?’

‘I told you, I’m not leaving. I’ve taken precautions.’

‘What did you do?’

He shifted from foot to foot but didn’t answer. Pivoting on his one good leg, Piotr turned around to face him fully. Alf cleared his throat.

‘Listen, Piotr, I just think it’s about time we—’

He didn’t get to finish his sentence. Piotr went for him. His leg might have slowed him down slightly, but he was still quick enough to get the better of Alf. He had him up against the wall with a pistol pressed into his throat before he realised what was happening.

‘I’ll ask you again. What have you done?’

Alf swallowed hard. ‘When all the fighting was going on out there… a dead body came at me and I… I put the keys in its pocket.’

‘What the fuck did you do that for?’ Harjinder said, unable to believe what he was hearing.

‘I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t want those blokes getting the truck. It seemed like a sensible thing to do.’

‘Open the door, Dominic,’ Piotr said. Dominic did as he was told and threw the door to the manor house open. There had to be more than two hundred corpses wandering around the grounds of the building. Piotr turned back to Alf. ‘You dumb bastard. Which one?’

‘It was wearing a Manchester City shirt.’

‘Seriously? Home or away?’


Piotr let him go and slumped back down against the stairs, keeping the pistol where the others could see it. ‘Right, you useless bastards, you know what you have to do.’

‘This is like a fucked-up game of Where’s Wally,’ Harjinder said as he marched towards the nearest corpses, carrying the axe he’d acquired.

‘Where’s Waldo, the Americans call it,’ Alf added pointlessly.

‘It’s your fault whatever it’s called,’ Dominic said, following gingerly behind them. He felt like they were walking out into a gladiatorial arena. ‘What possessed you to do something so stupid?’

‘Let’s just concentrate and get this done,’ Harj said. ‘The sooner we get to work, the better.’ Until they had those keys again, they were going nowhere. And like it or not, that truck needed to be shifted. The beginnings of a way out of this mess were beginning to form in his head… Kelly had been shut away like a concubine by Piotr, shielded from much of the horror of the last few weeks and months, and it was clear she’d been traumatised by what she’d seen here. Harjinder was starting to imagine a world where Piotr and these other losers were gone, and he and Kelly could disappear together. Truth be told, he’d hardly ever spoken to her, but he liked her a lot, and she deserved better than Piotr.

But there was work to do first.

Harjinder waded into battle.

It wasn’t as bad as he thought, though the axe proved to be far too unwieldy, and he soon dumped it in favour of a pocketknife he carried. He stabbed each of the corpses in the temple, then checked what each of them was wearing and, if it looked like their stained clothing might have once been a Man City strip, checked their pockets before dumping them.

Alf was a reluctant fighter, but at least he tried. It took him more time to get rid of one cadaver than it took Harj to deal with half a dozen. Still, he was more effective than Dominic who, fifteen minutes in and counting, had so far only incapacitated two. He’d developed a knack of making himself look busy, zeroing in on particularly ropey-looking corpses, then making a meal out of checking their pockets before finally, reluctantly, amateurishly, putting them out of their misery.

It was like no battle any of them had been involved in before. The confines of the battleground and the fixed number of combatants made it feel more like a training exercise than the real thing, a bizarre simulation. Harj reverted to the axe, realising that just swinging wildly at the dead (most of them came walking straight at him) would almost always do enough damage to put them down without him having to man-handle them first.

‘Get a fucking move on,’ Piotr shouted from the door of the manor house, unimpressed.

I can’t go any faster, Harj thought, breathing hard and dripping with sweat, thankful for the cooling rain. He must have dealt with over fifty of them now, and still no sign of the rogue Man City supporter. Even Alf and Dominic had managed to pick up a little speed.

Harjinder thought he caught a glimpse of light blue, though it was hard to make out the colour of any of the clothing the dead wore because it was so heavily stained. He raced across and decapitated the corpse he’d spotted with a single blow. He picked it up with one hand – the rain-soaked rags it was wrapped in weighing almost as much as what was left of the body itself – and checked every pocket for the keys but found nothing. He threw it to one side and surveyed the scene. There were hardly any of them left now, only a fraction of their original number, and he cursed his bad luck. The way today was going, the corpse they were looking for would inevitably be the last one left standing.

He was on his own now, all the bodies in the immediate area having been dealt with. He trudged back through the relentless rain, over to where Alf and Dominic were still labouring. The pair of them were bickering like an old married couple. ‘Are you sure you can’t remember anything else about the one you gave the keys to?’

‘I should have asked its name,’ Alf grumbled, sarcastic. ‘Sorry about that.’

Harj took the axe to another corpse, hitting it from behind, shattering its spine. The force of the blow sent it flying into Dominic who panicked and grappled it to the ground. Once he realised it had already been incapacitated, he shoved it away and staggered back, tripping over his own feet. He just about managed to stay upright, planting one boot very firmly down into an evacuated chest cavity. Frigging idiot got himself tangled in its ribcage and couldn’t shake the damn thing free. ‘You’re a fucking liability,’ Harj said as he took hold of the corpse by its neck and pulled it off his foot.

He was about to dump the putrid sack of flesh when he stopped. Damn thing was wearing a Manchester City top. Alf was looking over his shoulder. ‘Yeah, that’s the one,’ he said nonchalantly. ‘Good job, Harj.’

‘I fucking give up,’ Harj cursed, and he took the bloodied keys from the lifeless monster’s inside pocket and threw them at Alf.

Within minutes they were back on the move. Harj drove the van now, Dominic rode shotgun. Piotr sat behind the driver’s seat, holding the pistol. He’d made it clear he’d had enough. If they didn’t get him to Heddlewick by nightfall, he said he’d shoot the lot of them. Alf was behind the wheel of the truck, waiting for the signal. Only Kelly was missing. She was still in the house, still too afraid to move. She’d made it as far as the door, but no further. For as far as she’d been able to see, the grounds of the manor house were carpeted with human remains. Harjinder had tried to drag her out but Piotr, and his gun, ordered otherwise. ‘What good is she to me now?’ he asked.

Harj revved the engine impatiently, but Alf was struggling with the truck. A growing crowd of expectant cadavers had gathered out in the road, riled up by all the noise and activity of the last few hours. The weather had deteriorated too, the mother of all storms blowing in. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and the dead beat against the side of the truck in apparent confusion, fear, and anger.

Eventually Alf managed to get the engine to fire. He accelerated hard to keep it from stalling, then shunted forward. The moment their way forward was clear, the dead crowd spilled into the walled estate. ‘Drive!’ Piotr ordered. Harjinder hesitated, thinking he should try once more to get Kelly to come. Piotr pushed the gun into the back of his head. ‘I said drive. Now!’

He did as he was ordered, racing back up the driveway towards the road, accelerating hard into the wave of flesh now tumbling towards the van.

‘Keep going,’ Piotr said as they skidded out onto the road.

‘What about Alf?’

‘He’s a liability. Fuck him.’

By the time they made it to Heddlewick, the conditions had deteriorated markedly. They crossed a bridge over the swollen river, then stopped at a small retail park on the way out of town. It was too dangerous to go on. The place was swarming with corpses, more than they’d seen in one place in a long time. They’d have to get through a crowd that looked to be thousands deep to get to Ledsey Cross.

Dominic had been uncharacteristically quiet since they’d left the manor house, but the three of them had hunkered down for the evening in a foul-smelling store and he found his tongue again as they ate stale food from the shelves. Once again, he’d found himself needing to negotiate. He’d been able to persuade Piotr that another few hours wait wouldn’t make much difference. If any of the others from London had managed to keep going, they’d surely have also been forced to take shelter from the weather, so they’d be delayed too.

Dominic prayed that he’d make it to Ledsey Cross in one piece tomorrow. He’d appeal to the better nature of the people there to take him in, claim that he had nothing to do with these other thugs, that they’d brought him here under duress. There was safety in numbers, that much he’d already come to understand. Several months ago, he’d spoken to Piotr about the symbiotic relationship the two of them shared: Piotr dealt with the undead, while he handled the living. That particular arrangement was ended now: without other people to manipulate, Dominic knew he had no control. And without other people to manipulate, Piotr no longer had any need for him.

The one positive was that Piotr seemed to be in a really, really bad way. He could hardly walk. He was struggling to do anything for himself. ‘Help me, Harj,’ he said.

‘Help you with what?’

‘I need a piss.’


‘And I need you to hold me up.’

Harjinder looked less than impressed, but as Piotr had a gun, he didn’t have a lot of choice. ‘I’ll hold you up, but I’m not holding anything else.’

Dominic stayed where he was, relieved to have a moment or two to himself.

Outside, the storm was intense. Piotr clung to Harjinder as he limped across the store car park. In the short time they’d been indoors, the river had swollen dramatically. Flood water lapped up the road they’d driven along earlier. ‘Rough night,’ he wheezed, wincing with pain.

‘Rough year, to be honest,’ Harjinder replied.

‘Yeah, you’re right,’ Piotr said as he leant up a shopping trolley store and pissed against it. ‘Things will settle down now though, one way or another.’

Harj remained a few steps back. He didn’t immediately reply. Piotr looked back over his shoulder, to check he was still there.

‘I’m going back for Kelly and Alf,’ he said.

‘I thought you’d want to. I know you like Kelly. You sure you want to risk it tonight? Storm’s getting worse.’

‘I’m sure.’

Piotr finished what he was doing. Shook and zipped up. ‘Help me back inside first.’

‘Sure,’ Harjinder said, relieved that Piotr’s reaction hadn’t been worse. Then again, what could he do about it, anyway? He could barely walk, let alone drive. How the mighty had fallen: all-conquering Piotr, the self-proclaimed warrior king who now couldn’t even take a piss without a chaperone.

When Harj leant across to take Piotr’s weight, Piotr slashed him across the gut with a knife he’d had tucked away in his belt. Harj staggered back, clutching his belly, feeling warm blood trickling out through the gaps between his fingers.

‘What the fuck?’

Piotr – clearly very badly injured, but more mobile than he’d let on – shoved him back towards the river.

‘You really think I’d let you go? Did you think I wasn’t expecting this?’

Harjinder tried to speak, but no longer could. His legs buckled. He dropped down onto his knees. With a grunt of pain, Piotr lowered himself down next to him, then shoved him over. He fell onto his back, unable to stop himself, no longer strong enough to sit back up. Harjinder couldn’t even fight back when Piotr started going through his pockets. He couldn’t even lift his arms to stop him.

Piotr found the keys to the van, then rolled Harjinder down to the edge of the water. The way the rain was coming down, he knew it would be enough. The river would take care of him.

‘Terrible thing happened,’ Piotr explained when he finally managed to get back inside the store. He was panting with effort, his voice full of mock concern.

‘Where’s Harjinder?’

‘So sad… he got all upset about Kelly again while we were out there, and he lost his footing. It’s really bad tonight, Dominic. He fell into the river and was swept away. I tried to help, but I’m injured and… and I’m sorry, but our friend is dead. It’s just you and me now.’

It didn’t take a genius to work out what had really happened. ‘Such a shame,’ Dominic said, playing along, terrified of saying the wrong thing.

‘I found the keys to the van, though,’ Piotr announced, voice now back to normal. ‘When it’s daylight, you’ll drive us both to Ledsey Cross.’

Dominic froze. Shit. Piotr hadn’t thought this through.

‘I can’t…’

‘You can. It’s easy. My leg’s too fucked up. You’ll have to do it.’

‘But that’s what I’m trying to say… I can’t. I can’t drive. I never passed my test.’



Autumn: The London Trilogy omnibus edition