Geeks vs. Zombies
T oday is World Book Day.”
    â€œNo, it isn’t.”
    â€œYes, it is.”
    â€œNo, it isn’t. It’s a crap day like any other.”
    â€œI’m telling you, today is World Book Day.”
    â€œHow do you know?” said James. “I bet you don’t even know what the date is.”
    Wiki shrugged. James was right. He didn’t know the date. None of them did. He didn’t know the date, and now he came to think about it, he didn’t know what day of the week it was, either.
    â€œI thought you were supposed to know everything,” James sneered. “You’re Wiki, the walking Wikipedia. Wiki, the little boy with the big head like a bulb. Stuffed full of useless facts. And you don’t even know what date it is.”
    â€œIt doesn’t matter what the date is,” said Wiki patiently. “If we say it’s World Book Day, then it’s World Book Day.”
    â€œWho’s ‘ we ,’ then?”
    â€œWell, mainly Chris Marker,” said Wiki. “He says books are important and…”
    James swore at Wiki and laughed in his face. “I might have known it was Chris Wanker’s idea.”
    â€œSo you won’t be coming, then,” said Wiki’s friend Jibber-Jabber, who’d earned his nickname because of his habit of talking too much. He was trying to keep a lid on it now, though, in the face of James’s mocking laughter.
    â€œComing where?” said James with mock politeness. He was a good two years older than Jibber-Jabber and Wiki and slightly chubby, with untidy hair and a very sarcastic attitude. He had always reminded Jibber-Jabber of one of the guys on the TV show Top Gear .
    â€œWe’re having an all-night book vigil,” Jibber-Jabber muttered.
    â€œYeah? And what’s that, then?”
    â€œWe’re going to try and stay up all night reading books.” Jibber-Jabber sensed that he hadn’t impressed James with this idea, and now, instead of shutting up like he should have done, he started to blurt things, which he always did when he was nervous. “It should be good,” he said. “We’ve got loads of books, which we’ve piled up on the big table, and we’ve collected all these, like, candles, and we’re going to dress as our favorite characters from books, and Chris is going to read to us from—”
    James cut him off. “That sounds like a riot,” he said with as much sarcasm as he could—which was quite a lot.
    Jibber-Jabber shut up. Wiki stared at his shoes. James looked at the two of them like they were five-year-olds, and slowly shook his head.
    They were standing in the large courtyard at the Natural History Museum. It had once been the staff parking lot, back in the days before the sickness had come and the world had gone crazy. Now the kids who lived at the museum used it for their own needs. Surrounded on all sides by tall museum buildings, it was safe and secluded. There were two large chicken runs, an area where they piled up their rubbish, a makeshift soccer field, a basketball hoop, and an old Tesco delivery truck parked at one end.
    Wiki and Jibber-Jabber knew what was on the truck. Three diseased adults, chained up like animals. An older boy called Paul looked after them, and James had been helping him feed them when Wiki and Jibber-Jabber had come over with their clipboards and asked if he wanted to get involved in their event.
    James was one of the Scientists, a group of kids who were using the facilities at the museum to try to find out about the sickness—what had caused it, how it worked, and whether there might be a cure. He wore a white lab coat in an attempt to look the part. It didn’t work. He looked more like a boy playing doctors and nurses than a real scientist. He might have been rehearsing for a school play. It was the same everywhere: kids were pretending to be grown-ups, filling their shoes. With no real

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