They were called “The Good People”. They turned up at the settlement every six months, near as Arch could tell. They’d travel through the fiercest rainstorms, fight their way through the wildfires that swept the ravaged countryside, even risk being caught outside when winter came, just to come back to Desolation. And he couldn’t understand it. Why come here? The settlement was nothing, just a pile of ashes, hollowed husks of houses surrounded by a perimeter of scrap and dirt. They drank dirt water and ate dirt food, and everything that he saw, smelled and tasted was tainted by decay. The Good People scared him. It wasn’t anything in their demeanour, any terror lurking in their tales of the surrounding countryside. They were always well-kept, as neat and tidy as people could be in these times. They were kind and quiet, gentle souls that always brought with them the same simple message: the world outside is dead, and it’s staying dead. No – he was scared because they kept coming back. That they travelled so much, saw reaches of the country so distant, so far afield that they had to be different, had to be better – but still, they kept coming back here. To Desolation. It scared him that the settlement was somewhere worth visiting.