Owen was pacing the kitchen and wishing for a cigarette. Laura was taking far too long. He had called Mrs Emery and she said that Laura had left over an hour ago and repeated calls to her mobile were going unanswered. The sound of tyres on gravel had him running to the front door, he almost laughed with joy when he spotted Laura's old Ford on the driveway.

"Time to go, kids!" he shouted. Owen turned back to the car and frowned, it wasn't Laura behind the wheel.

Jessie felt her chest tighten as soon as the car pulled into the driveway. She rolled off the bed and went to get Lewis; she clapped a hand over his mouth when he began to complain.

"I'm taking you someplace safe, little brother." Jessie dragged his across the landing and into her room; she then helped him to climb out of the window. Lewis was crying and begging her to come with him.

"Jump from the roof and head for your friends. I'll see you again someday. I promise." Jessie kissed his forehead and pushed him onto the roof. She watched her little brother drop to the grass and take off into town as she listened to the stairs creak under the weight of a new body.

"Hello, Jessie. I missed you lots and lots, you know." Jessie smiled and turned to face Alex. He was standing in the doorway with Laura's head in one hand and Owen's head in the other.

"Are those for me?" asked Jessie. Alex grinned and nodded; he placed the heads on the bed and sat down next to them. He pulled a large knife from his belt and held out his other hand to his sister. Jessie took the offered hand and sat down next to him.

"This is it?"

"Yes. I have to finish it now. I only wanted to protect you, Jessie. I'm the oldest, that what I do. I have to protect you from the world. There's bad stuff out there."

"I know. But I have to protect you too. So I think we should do this together" said Jessie. She pulled a kitchen knife from under her mattress and smiled.

Alex held his knife to her throat.

Jessie held her knife to his throat.

They both smiled, memories of happier times before all this began flowed between them.

And then.