Now outside, Jeevan decides to follow the lake and head south. It’s implied that Frank killed himself; Jeevan checks twice to make sure he isn’t breathing. With the hiking bag that Frank for some reason kept after being paralyzed, Jeevan sets out into the cold, dark, empty city. He moves as quickly as he can, at one point hearing gunshots and becoming terrified.
Frank’s suicide illuminates the closeness of survival to death. For Jeevan to have a strong chance of staying alive, Frank must die. The hiking bag is a small detail that shows the way that fate keeps popping its head up in the novel. Did Frank know someday the bag would have a use? Was it merely a coincidence? Whatever the case, Jeevan’s fate is tied inextricably to his brother’s influence and sacrifice.
Jeevan finds it difficult not to think of Frank, both of the image of him on his bed next to an empty bottle of sleeping pills, and of older memories. As the sun rises, he builds a makeshift shelter, and is briefly able to sleep. When he wakes he has never been colder.
Not only has he just lost a brother, but Jeevan also must face for the first time the harsh physical realities of life in nature after the collapse.
At first Jeevan is terrified of being robbed or abused in a lawless world, but he soon realizes that there are hardly any people left. Five days pass before he sees another human. He meets and approaches a group of three: Ben, Abdul, and Jenny. Ben is apparently immune to the Flu, since he took care of his family who all died within forty-eight hours of getting sick. Jeevan travels with the group for a week until they decide to head out in different directions.
Though a world without civilization’s structures of law can be terrifying and dangerous, at this point in time there simply isn’t a large enough population for crime to be statistically likely. When Jeevan does meet another group of people, they only travel together for a week. After so many deaths, the world is a place of solitude.
On his journey Jeevan remembers a conversation with Frank over two months ago, about how in disaster movies there is always an apocalypse and then something after, and Frank asks, “what makes you think we’ll make it to afterward?” Pushing the memory aside, Jeevan makes his way southward through the snow and the horrors. He avoids roads and towns, and tries to keep a grasp on his identity.
While Jeevan seems to hold out hope that civilization will be restored, Frank represents a counterpoint perspective. He is consistently realistic, pessimistic, yet calm and accepting of the reality of the havoc the Georgia Flu is wreaking on humanity.