It was night, so we were moving...myself, my wife and my daughter. We only ever moved at night, not from fear of other people, but from the sun and the heat. If you've never seen something invisible have weight, you've never felt heat like this. It doesn't so much push down on you, as surround you, pull at you and suck the air from your lungs. In this desolate place a man would die within hours. Instead we wait for darkness then sprint from one location to the next, hoping to get somewhere by noon. Sometimes you saw other people, mostly you didn’t. That night was no exception.

It was around 3am when we reached a settlement. It was a familiar down, uninhabited for god knows how long. Inside nothing but dust that leaped into the air as you passed by. We unrolled our bedding and I sat for a while, watching and thinking. My wife sat across from me, my daughter's head resting in her lap and fast alseep. We both sat in silence, the way we spent most of our time. Not because our daughter was asleep, but because there was nothing left to talk about. We pretty much just existed. My wife fell asleep eventually and I stayed up for a while more. Time was, we used to run shifts through the I couldn't care less. Every morning brought the same two feelings...first - shock that this was real and not a dream, second - disappointment that I hadn't died in the night. Truth be told I didn't care how...heart failure, torn apart by wild animals, or bludgeoned with a rock by someone who simply wanted my shoes.

I took my still-living body and searched the house for anything of use. It was a ritual I did every time we stopped somewhere even though it rarely turned up anything. The food was all rotton and mouldy. Any pools of water were stagnant. There was nothing for us here, except another day's shelter. I returned to my family to wait.

It was probably about 8pm when we heard a trader wagon approaching outside. I looked at my wife...she looked at me, and then looked away. Like most people in this Hell, we had nothing but needs. I stood in the doorway and waited for the wagon to approach. In the house I knew my wife would be stroking our daughter's hair. She was only 11 years old, she didn't understand anything. She still rememberd what it was like "before". That was her worst torment, and ours. If only she was young enough to have never known any different.

I met with the traders...a ragged group of men with a horse-drawn cart. Dirty, filthy, stinking. I secured some basic rations and some water. When I returned to the house, my wife went out to the traders and I closed the door behind her. I waited for her to return. I call her my "wife", but if I'm honest, she stopped being a wife a long time ago. Now she was just a cunt. A cunt I use to trade. I used to torture myself with visions of what those men were doing to her. I used to imagine their dirty hands on her bare flesh. Now I couldn't give a fuck.

The cunt eventually returns and says nothing. For another few hours we all sit in silence. When the moon is high and bright we gather our things and head for the next stopping point. I have no idea where we are heading towards, but moving just seems like the right thing to do. As the Sun starts to poke above the horizon we take shelter in an old barn. We have to stop, we have no choice, but I know there will be nothing here for us to scavenge. Tired and weak we bed down to sleep, and when I awake my wife is dead.

I sit and stare until my daughter wakes up. I have no idea how this is going to play out. It does not play well so I stand outside of the barn for a while, preferring the cooking heat to the emotional whirlwind that is going on inside. I see some traders on the horizon once more. When they approach I take on new rations, a little water.

Inside the barn I tell my daughter that she has to be strong. Tears are flowing down her face. I tell her that she has to be grown up now, a big girl. I motion for her to go outside to where the traders are waiting. She is no longer my daughter.

Not any more.