In Faith’s Way

By Matthew Rush

‘Max, please listen to me; your route leads us through the Nepean Highway! It’s the prime location for an ambush,’ she says frantically.

‘We can’t afford to get caught in the sunlight Emily, so the fastest route is the safest route, now stop whispering so loud!’ I repeat.

She follows close behind me as we crawl beside the rusted exterior of the empty vehicles that layer the highway. To think such an active road was now silent, the motionless machines still in place as a reminder of the old world. Where purring engines once roared to life, all that can be heard now is a sad wind blowing through cracks in broken glass. 

My elbows are already getting sore as I tear my sleeves across the jagged concrete road. This slow approach proves effective, just ahead the light of the moon is shining off the bent Scott Street sign. However, as we approach the street, the vehicles which lay ahead have an unnaturally wide berth, providing less cover for us and a clear line of sight for anyone nearby. It’s a gamble but we can’t afford to turn around now with daylight steadily approaching. 

I quietly tell Emily to wait while I hesitantly step past the first gap. Once I reach the first car, I stop to wait for her. 

Wrong turn, perhaps?’

I hastily turn around to see the looming figure of a man wearing a ski mask, raising a crowbar over his head before the full force of it comes down on my spine. I tremble in agony as three more men come rushing towards me.


The men are distracted long enough for me to stumble away. My ears still ringing as I raise my head during the commotion to witness Emily lowering her arms from the sky as she slowly releases tension off the trigger of her revolver. I crawl towards her as the faint sound of hissing and the popping of bubbly fluid becomes increasingly audible. 

The highway once again is filled with noise, not of engines but of them. The ones who ended us all. The hissing surrounding us is deafening, piercing through my skull and into my aching ear drums. The swollen humanoid figures of what were once humans’ approach, coated from head to toe in greasy flesh. On the flesh, large red blisters full of revolting boiling bodily fluids that reeked of burning flesh. To avoid daylight is to avoid being turned into these deformed monsters, ‘the blistered.’ 

Without a second to lose I grab her by the hand and pull her in the direction of home. The opportunity we’ve been waiting for is in sight, within our grasp.


My eyes widen as she tugs me back to bring our momentum to a halt. I turn around to usher her forward, but my focus is soon directed on the small drop of blood slowly spreading from her abdomen. The scavengers missed the blistered but hit my sister. I act with haste as I lift her up onto my back and wrap her limbs around me before dashing into Scott Street. 

Time’s scarce and I must hurry, or I fear we will never get home. My focus is wavering and my eyelids feel so heavy. The blood that soaks my shirt makes the wind blowing towards me feel like shrapnel, but for her I can endure it; I know very well she would have done so for me. Even now I can feel it: her once pounding heartbeat slowly reduce itself to a soft thumping against the bruises running down my spine. 

I tell her to hold on tight, it’s all I can muster the energy to mutter through my laboured breaths. To think the last time we walked down this rough and brittle road I shared the faith my sister has in religion and in God. But I’m not naïve – though it’s not because I believe faith to be naïve – it’s because I can’t accept a God that hasn’t bothered to lift a finger. Not even when the voices of my mother, my father and my brother echoed into the abyss that threatens to swallow this world whole. Or at least what remains of it.

My steps are reduced to mere shuffling, my body swaying from side to side in a desperate attempt to maintain my balance, but it is no use, fatigue will soon consume what little vitality I have left. In my exasperated state, I fail to notice the arms of my sister slowly tightening around my frame. I lean over as she whispers to me, 

‘I want to go home… Max… can we… go home?’

When we arrive the house itself is still intact but the exterior bricks have deteriorated. I hobble past the brittle gate and drag us up the steps, snapping the rusty lock from the splintered door and pushing it ajar. Miraculous! It’s just as I remember, minus the thick layer of dust covering the lounge furniture. Brushing off the dust, I place her down on the leather couch. 

‘See sis… we made it… we’re home.’

Her complexion, as pale as marble, still carried that warm smile, her eyes once so blue now colourless at death’s door.

‘This… isn’t home,’ she groaned.

‘Not… home? This is where we use to live… this is where… we were all together.’

This devastating feeling of grief, I can’t take much more! I don’t want to lose her, not after being told I failed. Her hands tremble as she reaches out to hold my hand.

‘Home is where your family is… I want us both… to go home, Max,’ she moans. 

‘But our family is gone… you don’t mean…’

She wants us to go where they are… she wants us…to die. All this time I’ve been so determined to get here that I forgot she believes in a better place.

‘Max… will you come home with me… I don’t want to go alone… to see them,’ she pleads.

This sorrow, this pain… it’s all too much to bear. My eyelids clench as I sob and wail. Tears run down my face…but I had to keep smiling, I owe it to her… to send her off with a smile. 

‘Alright, I’ll follow… after I see you off… I may be late… but I’ll be there,’ I reply.

‘I love you… Max… see you at home.’

The little tint of blue left in her eyes slowly fades to glassy white, leaving me once again to stare back into the abyss.

‘How cruel… you didn’t let me say it back.’I lack her faith in God but I do believe in her, so I’ll come home but first I must repent… sorry Emily but I’m going to be late.



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