Living in the city was a dream come true for Alex. She was a country girl who had fantasised about city life for as long as she could remember.
When she was 24 she met a man in the local pub who was on a hunting trip in the countryside. Jim was gorgeous, witty, kind, sincere and single and very soon he and Alex were married.
It was a beautiful wedding in the back garden of Alex’s parents farm. A farm that had been in the family for generations. The smell of freshly cut flowers and summer breezes were still in Alex’s mind as she pottered about her tiny new kitchen, heavily pregnant with her first child.
A tiny kitchen it might have been but it was all Alex wanted. She had a view over the whole city from her high rise apartment right in sector 9 and she sat by the window watching the bustle of city life unfold before her eyes every day.
Alex spent a lot of time on her own. She didn’t know many people in the city and she was nervous around Jim’s business friends and their wives. But Alex was happy and would be happier still when she could share her life with her child.
Dee was born after a mammoth labour. Jim thought it would never end but didn’t leave Alex’s side once in the 36 hours that she was having contractions. And when he held his newborn daughter in his arms he thought he had died and gone to Heaven.
Life was as near perfect as anyone could get for this little family. Jim tried to get home from work early every day to bath his baby and Alex would stand at the door to the bathroom with tears of happiness in the corners of her eyes. She couldn’t believe that she was this lucky. After all, she was just a simple country girl and here she was with a handsome, successful and loving husband and a healthy baby girl. Alex had everything to live for.
And life just got better! Jim was promoted and he bought a brand new house in the exclusive suburb of Martina Keys for his beloved wife and daughter. Dee was fast growing into a tomboy and at the age of 7 could climb the trees in the park faster, skateboard better and shoot hoops easier than all the boys in the neighbourhood put together.
Alex loved living in the suburbs and got to know a lot of the neighbours so was even happier than she had been before when she had been living in the inner city.
Jim was getting on really well at work and enjoyed some time off at the golf club as part of his executive perks.
Dee was a good child and got on with most of the kids at school. As she grew up she always felt drawn to boys as friends and would spend more time with them than with girls of the same age.
Things couldn’t have been better – until Jim decided that he was in love with the girl that worked behind the bar at the golf club.
Alex was devastated. She took to the bottle and wouldn’t come out of the house for love nor money.
Jim soon moved out and shifted to the countryside to be with his new woman!
Dee didn’t know what to think. She had been so used to living in a bubble of contentment and stability that she retreated into herself and tried her best to forget that things had ever changed.
It wasn’t until she got home from school one afternoon and saw an ambulance parked in the driveway that she was able to face the fact that her life had changed forever.
Alex was taken in to hospital with a suspected overdose and Jim rushed back from his home in the countryside to be with her in her last moments on earth. With tubes strapped to her and a monitor bleeping hypnotically in the background, Alex died that day.
As the rain poured down from the sky, Dee hugged her knees on the floor by the side of her mother’s bed. She rocked back and forth, listening to the cries of her father, who by this time was feeling all the guilt that he should have felt months ago when he first left.
Dee and Jim were eventually taken into another room and told that Alex had not died from an alcohol overdose but from the Virus that had been on the news lately. Jim soon pulled himself together at this news and instead of remembering the guilt he had felt just minutes before was suddenly overcome with the need to call his other woman and make sure that they were both tested immediately.
Dee was disgusted and torn apart by grief and made her own way home. When Jim called her that night to beg forgiveness and offer her a place to live with him in the country she hung up the phone.
She refused to accept her father’s apologies, refused to admit that he was a part of her life any more and took to the streets. In some ways she felt closer to her mother than ever as she remembered how Alex loved the city and all its comings and goings.
The city was a constantly changing place as day to day more and more adults were struck down with the Virus and kids took to the streets.
Dee got on pretty well with her tomboy ways and managed to make a life for herself in the squats of the city. She became used to her new way of life and had a number of friends she could rely on more than she could have relied on her own flesh and blood.
She would wonder at times about what had happened to her father and felt a tugging at the heartstrings but she didn’t cry very often. She was more concerned with helping others who appeared in the streets, trying to keep them away from the Locos and the Chosen, the Demon Dogs and the Hermits.
But one day she did cry. She cried all the tears that she had been holding onto for so long. And when someone hugged her and told her that everything was going to be okay she didn’t believe them.
But the person told Dee that all the adults were gone now and that they had no choice but to get on with life. She said that Dee could find out for herself that everything would be okay if she just wiped away her tears and joined her tribe.
Dee wasn’t so sure about that – but Moz was insistent.