Graham woke with a start. Oncoming night seemed a possibility and he was shivering under a blanket in the arch of a stone building. His fingers were clenched tight on the shoulder straps of his bag so tightly it took a moment of mental exertion to be able to pry them off. They unfurled with a series of clicks that ran a shudder down his spine. Carefully he detached himself from his bag and let his memory catch up with his mind so that he could recall where he was.
A dream was casually replaced with his thoughts. Images of Lucas began to drift from swirly imagery to solid reality. A conversation turned from concept of words to memory of sounds but something seemed uncertain as to which home it wanted to place itself. He could recall Lucas saying something about staying away from the city but was it dream or was it real? Lucas was never one for cities, always too crowded with people getting in the way...
Or a person. A boy. Reality snapped into focus like a car crash. A dribble of blood, a snatched breath of air. The last breath. A buried body at the edge of the clearing.
Graham found himself all out of tears but somehow that felt worse. A jagged rock somehow rolled at the pit of his chest pounding at the bones for attention. Graham shook the cob webs from his head and tried to remain clear. There was no time left for sobs, he'd been too lucky before to believe that he could be lucky twice.
Graham wrapped the blanket tight around his narrow shoulders. It felt coarse and foreign. Completely foreign. Someone else's in fact. He stood up quickly and began to scan his surroundings. A courtyard of some sorts, surrounded with decaying buildings, each one possibly housing another human. The blanket was a good sign they were friendly, but the best sign so far was that he wasn't dead.
He rose slowly to his feet and started walking. He hoped a place to walk to would present itself shortly but for now he settled for the hope of being alive by nightfall. A brief glance around the courtyard showed no real sign of life, but there was a painted sign on a wall that looked to be the only English that hadn't faded. It simply read "South" in deep red. Graham looked to the sky but could not spot the sun. It seemed as good a sign as any. He shrugged his shoulders and started walking in the direction of the doorway.
He was going south then. A left turn meant east which was Victoria, a right turn meant west which meant Western Australia. South also lead to Australia, though you couldn't walk it. He held his minds on these thoughts, liking the comfort of them, the ease of them, the fact that none of it lead to an image of blood. He simply walked until he found food then collapsed with the joy of it.