Day 26. They say you never forget the first man you kill but it's a lie. One turns to two, two turns to ten, and the faces begin to blur. By number twenty you don't even notice the smell. It's just another day on the job: you're a tour guide, ushering schmucks from this realm to the next.

It's the animals that haunt me. Innocents, trained over centuries to rely on man for food and protection, gone mad with hunger when the whole thing collapsed. Mad and strong -- blame the juice from the reactor for that. It took both hands to wring the neck of a wild Maine Coon scratching for my jugular. Two days later, I shot a Boxer in the belly and watched its eyes turn from glowing antipathy to grey sadness. Its blood spattered on my size fourteen Bellevilles and it looked like the Florida Keys.

Men? They all had it coming. Dog blood archipelagos on my boots: that's what keeps me up at night.

TO BE CONTINUED! church