He ran into the room, his heart pounding, and his clothes soaking wet. One of the Abel Security Volunteers, Daniel, brought up the rear.
"Peter has been trying to leave the compound again, Major."
"It's Luke. My neighb… my… friend. He's still alive." the boy interrupted. "A runner on rofflenet posted evidence of looting in Mr. Grant's, a shop near where we used to live."
The major pulled out a map. After a brief inspection Peter pointed to one of the orange 'No Go' areas. The Major considered the chart doubtfully.
"There are two or three old supermarkets in the vicinity. Enough supplies, but it's a hot zone. Many didn't get out in time. Full of zoms!
Surely, if this boy…"
"Luke. His name is Luke."
"…if Luke was still alive, he'd have left, looking for help?"
Peter shrugged. "He's 'special'." He tapped his skull, "Different… You know… a window licker!"
The boy seemed uncomfortable. The Major turned a querying gaze to Daniel, "Window licker?"
"I think he means Luke has Downs Syndrome. Some have extended tongues. The term comes from seeing them on the Special Needs coaches, nose up against the glass, looking out at the normal kids on their way to day care."
Now it was Daniel's turn to look uncomfortable. Clearly there was some history there, thought the Major. Bitter experience? A relative perhaps? Exploring that would have to wait, but now to practicalities.
"If th… Luke… is special, is it likely he would have survived?"
Peter stood his ground. "He's not stupid. Just slow. And he's good at hiding. Can we just go and see?"
There weren't many children at Abel. The Major recalled vaguely that this boy's parents hadn't survived the exodus, and he'd nearly starved in the boot of their car. She shrugged.
"Maybe we could do a recce to see what supplies there are in the area…"
To be continued…