Ella at The End Of The World – Episode Three

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I saw one up close. It’s face was all mangled. It shuffled towards the car, not seeming to notice that we were going to hit it. It just stared at us, until it went under the car. Martin stared back. He didn’t even seem upset.

“I told you I’d look after you, and I did.” That was the first thing he said. He was quiet as we drove, for about ten minutes, and then he just came out with it. He said the same to me once before. We had gone camping, and I’d sulked all the way there, because I was hoping for something a bit fancier. I wasn’t paying much attention as we unpacked and put up the tent, but soon it became clear he had put in a lot of effort to make everything a bit cosier for me. That night, as we settled down to go to sleep, he held me close and whispered “I told you I’d look after you, and I did.” and I felt so safe.

I think that’s why he said it today. He wanted me to feel safe. That’s why he turned the radio off too. We tried it for a little bit, but it was either static, or recorded messages from the government, politely asking us to stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives. I’m 90% sure the cheap bastards just reused the radio ads from the coronavirus crisis.

That set Martin off. He started grumbling about how health was devolved in Scotland (in Nicola Sturgeon we trust!), and that Westminster should keep their bad advice to themselves. I smiled, for the first time in a while. I didn’t realise how much I had missed normal things, like that. Little glimpses into the life we were driving away from. 

Martin doesn’t want to, but we are heading to England. I can’t say where, for obvious reasons (Martin is really, really, REALLY paranoid about people attacking us to steal our stuff, and considering the chaos we saw when we were driving out of town, he might have a point…) but we are going to pick up my family. I feel guilty. Martin clearly doesn’t want to go, but he’s doing it for me.

His family made plans already (I married into a very prepared and/or paranoid family) and we’ve managed to check in with them, when the phones were up earlier today, so, once we pick up my lot, we’ll be swinging back up to his, but my family are… less prepared, shall we say. We had a fight about exactly that, actually. I managed to speak to my brother, and he told me that him and mum are locked in the house, but running out of food, and worried about the you know whats getting in, which is when I asked Martin if we could go and help them. He said no, and I couldn’t believe it. I know people always joke about the husband hating his in laws, but I couldn’t believe he was really expecting me to just let my family fend for themselves. He started lecturing me, on how they should have listened to him, and how they should have prepared, how they should have appreciated the survival gear he got them last Christmas…

We were having this weird moment of aggressive whispering, because you can’t exactly shout, in case you attract… them, and I just couldn’t believe what was (very quietly) coming out of his mouth. We whisper argued about it all day, while he planned the route up to his secret bunker (I still don’t know where it is, and I am literally married to him), until it finally came to a head, when we were back on the road, and he shouted at me, for the second time in all the time I have known him.

“I’m not risking you for them!” 

I broke down, sobbing, as I watched fields, trees and an empty sky race past us. My heart was shattered in two, one half, sat next to me, with the man who would do anything to keep me with him, and the other half, hundreds of miles away, watching my frightened family beg for help.  

We didn’t say anything, for ages, just driving in the silence, until he suddenly turned the car around, and started driving back down towards the south. I asked him why, but he just looked straight ahead, not saying a word, and now, several hours later, we are about an hour from the border, and I just want him to speak, no matter what he says, so that I know I haven’t screwed everything up for good. 

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