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The Final Diary

William Daniels, a writer who enjoys the quiet life, has suddenly found himself on the run in the streets of London. An infection has broken out and is spreading across the city, and William just wants to find his daughter and a safe place where they can wait things out. But that may be too much to ask during the apocalypse.

Age Rating: 18+


The Final Diary by P.B. Simister is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.



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William Daniels, a writer who enjoys the quiet life, has suddenly found himself on the run in the streets of London. An infection has broken out and is spreading across the city, and William just wants to find his daughter and a safe place where they can wait things out. But that may be too much to ask during the apocalypse.

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: P.B. Simister


My wife tried to kill me. It’s not what you think, something was wrong with her.

Holly came home from work looking like death warmed up. Her face was pale, clammy, and stained with the tell-tale red lines caused by crying.

I hugged her, sat her down on the couch, and tried to find out why she was in such a state.

Her words were halting. “I heard a scream coming from the churchyard.” She didn’t need to add that she’d gone over to help, I knew her too well. “So I walked over to see if I could help.”

My silly, wonderful, brave, Holly.

She sobbed again and looked into my eyes, her gaze full of sadness and horror.

“There was a man, homeless, I think. He was covered in mud and looked drunk.”

Everyone in the area knew that particular churchyard was a drinking and drug-using spot for the dregs of society.

Nobody in his or her right mind would go in there after hearing a scream, but my Holly steamed right in to help.

“He was attacking a woman, that’s who was screaming.” More sobbing and a fresh flood of tears streamed down her cheeks.

I asked if the woman was dirty, drunk, or both. Holly shot me a look that seemed to ask, Why the fuck would that make a difference?” and shook her head.

“No, she was well-dressed, a little older than me,” she threw herself into my arms. “Oh God, William,” she buried her face into my chest and screamed.

Even though my chunky brown sweater muffled the screams, they were still loud enough to get me worrying about what the neighbors might have thought.

To be perfectly honest here, I didn’t have a clue what I should do, so I just held her.

I felt angry.

Angry that she worked even though I made enough money for the both of us.

Angry that she walked home despite us having a perfectly good car.

Angry at myself for not insisting that she gave up her job at the travel agent’s when my first book had become a success.

Not that it would have done any good; she was so bull-headed that she would have done double shifts just to teach me a lesson.

After a few minutes had passed, she lifted her head and looked at me.

Her face was plastered in snot and tears and her skin became so pale that it seemed like some kind of ethereal porcelain. Something was very wrong.

“He killed her, William,” she stammered the words out between sobs. “He bit her throat out right there in front of me. Just ripped her neck apart with his teeth and groaned like a perverted maniac.”

This was without a doubt the strangest “guess what happened to me today” story I had ever heard. I didn’t believe it. How could I? It sounded like something from a late-night horror movie.

They’re coming to get you, Holly.

“I threw my shoe at him,” she said, nodding her head to affirm her bravery. I looked down and sure enough, her left shoe was missing and her slender foot was beaten and bloody.

My foolish, heroic, shoeless Holly.

“It just made him angry, William. He came right at me but,” she paused to choke back more tears before continuing. “Something was wrong with him, his eyes were all white and his skin was gray.”

Now it really did sound like a bad horror movie.

She must have seen the doubt in my eyes, because she suddenly pulled away and rested her head in her hands.

That was when I spotted blood seeping through the sleeve of her jacket. I reached out to touch it but she jerked her arm away.

“It hurts,” she told me. “He bit me when I tried to run past him. He grabbed my arm and took a fucking bite. Who does that, William? Who does that?”

I got even more curious about the bite and asked her to take off the jacket. She winced and struggled to slide her arm out before finally allowing me to help.

Underneath, she wore her short-sleeved travel agent uniform blouse. The words “Come fly with us” were proudly emblazoned in yellow on the sleeve just below her right shoulder. I inspected the wound.

It was bad.

Teeth indentations circled the angry red wound and thin black veins spidered intricate patterns up her arm like a colorless kaleidoscope.

I rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the first aid kit from the cupboard underneath the sink.

I poured some warm water into a bright blue breakfast bowl and rushed back, urging myself to slow down as slops of water splashed over the rim.

A yellow smiley face stared up at me from the bottom of the bowl, taunting me with its inane grin. I scowled at the smiley face and sat beside Holly.

She looked close to passing out. An insane amount of heat radiated from the bite, it felt like hot coals were happily smoldering away beneath her skin.

She didn’t even notice me clean and bandage the wound. Her eyes were open but she looked vacant, dazed. “The lights are on but nobody’s home,” as my father would have said.

I had to call for help.

I phoned the local surgery, but the number was either busy or dead. I couldn’t work out which, so I decided that the hospital would be a safer bet.

After cursing at the ringing tone for the longest couple of minutes that I’ve ever lived through, I finally got an answer.

“Royal County Hospital, how can I help?” The woman on the line sounded tired; as if this was the thousandth time she had answered the phone that day.

“Some crazy guy bit my wife on the arm. She’s in a bad way. We need help.”

“Have you been bitten or scratched in any way, sir?”

“No, no. I’m fine. My wife saw the man kill another woman though, in St. Peter’s churchyard.”

“Where is your wife now, sir?”

“She’s sitting on the couch. Look, should I just bring her to A & E or will you send someone out?”

“Sir, we have been told to advise that all bite victims be placed in local quarantine. Is there somewhere for you to restrain your wife until the military can get to you and assess the situation?”

“Restrain her… Military? What are you talking about? She needs medical attention.”

“I’m sorry, sir, that’s all I can tell you right now. I strongly suggest that you restrain your wife as soon as possible and keep her away from any other family members.”

It was at this point that I realized Gemma hadn’t come home from school yet. “Oh, shit. Gemma.”


“Gemma, our daughter, she should have been home from school by now. She’s only fifteen.”

“Sir, I must advise that you do not leave your home until further notice. The government will be keeping everyone updated on TV and radio so make sure that you have one on at all times.”

I was almost afraid to ask. Almost. “Updated on what? What’s going on?”

“You need to restrain your wife immediately, sir. Promise me that you will do that right now.”

“But I… Okay.”

“Thank you. Help will come, sir. We are working as hard as we can.”

The line clicked and went dead.

I looked over at the couch. Holly had gone.

I shouted out her name and heard footsteps on the stairs. I shouted her name again while making my way to the bottom of the stairs.

There she was, halfway up, looking like she’d just gone to the fridge and forgotten why. I asked if she was feeling okay and my heart sank when she turned to face me.

She looked like a corpse.

Her skin had the pallor of an overcast sky. Her lips were dry, cracked, and discolored.

Worst of all, the bright blue eyes I had fallen in love with were drained of all color, replaced by the yellowing white of sour milk.

I rushed up the stairs, taking them three at a time. When I was within reach, I grabbed her by the shoulders and yelled her name, but there was no response.

Holly had left the building. No recognition, no answer, no life, nothing.

What happened next went so quickly that it’s blurred and confusing but I’ll do my best to recount it for you.

Holly was staring at the carpet, lost in its spiral patterns like a baby seeing cartoons on television for the first time. Her head snapped up to face me and those colorless eyes narrowed and stared hungrily.

She lunged for me, snapping with her teeth. My wife was trying to bite me, and not in a sexy way.

I stepped back to avoid the ravenous attack and lost my balance, at the same time keeping my grip on her shoulders so that as I fell, she tumbled down with me.

She snipped and snarled like an angry dog but more feral, more primal.

We twisted and turned, our combined weight thudding against each step heavily and painfully (for me, at least) until we hit the white marble floor with a sickening slap.

I heard a bone in Holly’s arm crack; it didn’t faze her at all. I was still regaining my senses when she leaped on top of me, teeth chomping and clacking.

A low, guttural growl reverberated deep in her throat.

I managed to shift my weight and push her off.

Scrambling to my feet, I ran past the stairs and through the door that opened into the garage, quickly hiding behind the now open door.

I heard Holly jump to her feet followed by the click-clack of her remaining shoe on the marble floor. The noise came closer and closer until I could also hear her breath.

She walked through the doorway and stood still for half a minute plus eternity.

I silently urged her to move further into the garage. An idea formed as I remembered the car key was in my pocket. Moving slowly and silently, I reached into my jeans.

Holly grunted and her breathing got faster, more excited. Had she heard me?


The sound of her shoe echoed around my head and froze my blood. I held my breath. Her face must have been just inches from mine with nothing but a door between us.


She stepped away from the entrance and moved further into the garage. I breathed again.

What the hell is wrong with her?

Deep down I thought that I knew, I just didn’t want to believe it.

Fear gripped my belly with icy fingers and squeezed, urging me to choose flight over fight.

I thrust my hand into my jeans pocket, pulled out the car key, and punched my thumb down onto the “unlock” button.

The red Ford SUV made its familiar boop-beep noise. Both the front and back lights flashed and the doors popped as they unlocked.

Holly growled and ran toward the SUV. I jumped out from behind the door, rushed back into the house, slammed the door closed, and locked it.

“It won’t be for long, Holly.” I rested with my back against the door. “Just until help arrives.”

I crumpled to the floor in an exhausted heap and cried like a baby until the sweet arms of sleep embraced me.

The next morning, I awoke with a start to the terrifying melody of Holly scraping and snarling at the door.

Gemma still hadn’t come home and wasn’t answering her mobile phone.

I tried calling her three times, only to get an annoying, “Hello?” followed by a long pause before the timeless, “Ahhhhhhh, got ya! Leave a message, muppet!” kicked in.

I hate that answer service message.

I kept checking through the window, but there weren’t any signs of life. That was hardly surprising considering the cul-de-sac we lived on was populated by elderly people, for the most part.

It’s why we bought the house. We like the quiet.

I could hear sirens in the distance and hoped that Gemma was okay. I wasn’t sure whether going to find her would be a good idea or a really bad one.

The hospital woman had told me not to leave the house. That help would come.

I didn’t know what to do other than hope and wait, so I started to scribble in a diary instead of doing something more practical.

After a while, I decided to put the television on, surely someone on there could tell me what to do.


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I watched the TV. Things were out of control.

“…the infection seems to be spread through bites and scratches. Contact with infected people is considered highly dangerous.” The reporter said from the safety of the newsroom.

“The military is telling us that if anyone you know has been infected then you must immediately restrain or quarantine them.” She was just repeating what the hospital receptionist had told me.

I could still hear Holly thrashing around in the garage. I changed the channel.

A well-dressed man was standing in front of pure mayhem. He tried to maintain a calm, professional demeanor but he was absolutely shitting himself.

“Here in London,” he yelled at the top of his voice in a futile attempt to drown out the sounds of mayhem around him.

Police and “infected” ran back and forth, then “infected” police ran back again attacking anyone who looked alive and well.

“The scene is horrific, Jo. It is all-out war on the streets; the police are clearly not equipped to handle this situation. There are dead bodies everywhere.”

He ducked his head and covered it with his hands when a loud explosion erupted in the distance. After coughing nervously and checking he was relatively safe, he continued his report.

“And we’ve been hearing that the dead are…” He glanced left and right one too many times.

“Get out of there, you idiot!” I screamed at the TV and the picture switched to Jo in the newsroom.

“I’m sorry, Alistair, you were cut off then. The dead are what?” Jo asked.

Alistair was demoted to a small box in the bottom corner of the screen.

“Coming back to life,” he shouted.

Before he could even react, a tidal wave of people engulfed him, some fighting for their lives and others trying to bite and tear the flesh of those that were uninfected.

His tiny screen went black but the screams were still coming through, loud and clear.

I can still hear them in my head now. The desperate sounds of victims facing their inevitable death mixed with the excited yelps and snarls of the infected to create a noise that turned my stomach.

It sounded like a hyena pack taking down their prey with squeals of blood-raged delight.

“Cut the feed, John. Cut it.” Jo looked off-screen and used her hand to motion cutting her throat. The sound died and Jo stared out at me, unsure of what she was going to say, what could she have said?

I turned it off. I’d seen enough to know what was going on. My Holly, my sweet, caring Holly, had become a zombie. Just like in the movies.

Don’t look at me like that.

My first thought was that they had to be working on a cure. They had called them infected on the TV, and infected people have a chance of becoming uninfected.

It’s not like Holly had died. She had been bitten and that bite infected her, but she didn’t die…

Right? The dead weren’t really coming back to life. That would be impossible.

If this is a dream then I would like to wake up now.

Distant sirens, screams, and explosions kept me awake all night.

It sounded like World War Three was going on in town.

Something or someone rattled the door at around 4 A.M. but it went away after a few minutes. I just laid on the couch staring up at the ceiling until the clock ticked its way round to 6 A.M.

I tried to call Gemma again, but all I got was her silly answering message.

I was certain that she would be with Travis, her (eighteen-year-old) boyfriend. While I didn’t approve of her seeing him, he did seem like he could handle himself. He was capable of keeping her safe.

Today, I decided. Today I would go and find her.

I resolved that I should eat something for breakfast, even if I didn’t have an appetite.

I stood there dazed, watching the bacon and eggs pop and sizzle. A knock at the door dragged me from the trance and then came the fear.

It was as if a colony of ants had surged into my mind, biting and scraping at my thoughts, telling me that a constant state of terror and doubt would be the best way forward.

Fear can be a healthy survival mechanism, but for me, it’s a debilitating illness.



Or infected?


I poked my head around the kitchen entrance and stared at the front door.

The letterbox popped open and the ant colony told me that some horrible un-named thing was about to come slithering through and attack me, so I stepped back.

“Bill Daniels.” A man whispered urgently through the letterbox opening. “Are you in there? It’s Jim from across the road.”

“Jim?” I moved closer to the door, still hesitant.

“Let me in, Bill.”

I have always hated that nickname.

“William,” I told him matter-of-factly.

“William then, just bloody well let me in will you?”

I glanced back into the kitchen to see that the bacon and eggs were acting naturally, filling the place with their wonderful aroma. Is there any smell better than bacon and eggs?

After sliding the bolts at the top and bottom, I turned the key and opened the door. Just a crack though; I wanted to check that he was normal before letting him in.

Jim didn’t give me the chance to make sure it was safe to let him in, he barged into the house (almost knocking me over in the process) and quickly but quietly closed, re-bolted, and locked the door.

“You been bit, mate?” he asked.

“No,” I pointed toward the kitchen. “I’m making—”

I didn’t have the chance to finish the sentence.

Jim rushed into the kitchen and dipped his thick fingers into the frying pan. He pulled out a strip of bacon, realized how hot it was, and passed it from one hand to the other, blowing at it furiously.

Once he was satisfied that it had cooled enough, he took a bite.

“Bacon.” His lips glistened with grease. “It’s done.” He smiled at me and turned the stove off. “William.” He stuffed the rest of the bacon strip into his mouth and sucked on each of his fingers.

At a guess, I’d say Jim is in his fifties, although he could be older.

Holly told me that he was ex-army, possibly special forces. Of course, she would know. I didn’t really speak with any of our neighbors.

Taking the aloof approach to social interactions usually stopped people from bothering me, but Holly was the opposite in that respect.

When someone invited her to any kind of gathering, she always accepted. She’d take Gemma with her if she couldn’t force me to go. Holly was definitely a people person.

She enjoyed meeting new faces and making new friends, and she had taken the time to get to know the people that lived on our street.

I wish that she was here and healthy instead of in the garage and infected.

“You know what’s going on, right?” His graying horseshoe mustache bristled angrily as he spoke.

“Yes, Jim. I know what’s going on.”

This huge, bald man intimidated me. He had come bursting into my home, helped himself to my bacon, and acted as though he knew me. Living across the road does not mean you know someone!

He nodded his head and gazed down at me, I’m no shorty, but he towered above my 5’11. He was as big as a tank and had massive hands that looked as though they could easily throttle a rhinoceros.

“Where’s Holly and Gemma?” He folded his arms and leaned back against the stove.

I didn’t know what to say. I must have looked like a fool just staring down at the floor, unable to look him in the eyes. Unable to answer him.

“William?” He tapped his foot impatiently.

“I…” I was still unable to lift my head high enough to look him in the eye. “I don’t know.”

Yes, I lied to him. So would you have, he’s a very intimidating man. Besides, it was only a half-lie; I really didn’t know where Gemma was.

“Have you tried calling or looking for them?”

He unfolded his arms and started digging around in the pockets of his thick, black duffle coat. After a few moments of searching, he pulled a mobile phone from his inside pocket.

“I’ve tried calling. No answer.” I was still admiring the floor tiles.

“I’ll give Holly a try, maybe she’s stuck at work.” He stabbed his finger at the phone, and before I could protest, he had it at his ear.

Jim, the human tank from across the road had my zombie wife on speed dial and was about to give her a call.

The ringtone of Holly’s phone was louder than I ever remembered it sounding. I looked up at Jim; he looked pissed off. The happy, chirpy ringtone playing in the garage definitely did not match the moment.


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