Static

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When I wake up it's not to a nightmare nor the light. It's to the sound of crying. Soft but audible sniffling followed by louder sobs.

My head shoots up in wonder, but I immediately regret my quick movement. The way I was sleeping with my head on his chest has put a great amount of pain on my neck. I rub it and slowly turn my head around, trying to get the feeling back to normal while scanning the room at the same time.

I must have been here a very long time because everyone is in their beds asleep. I can hear their soft breathing as they dream. But the sound of crying interrupts that.

I get up and listen to what area it's coming from. I can't quite make out who it is but I can tell it's coming from outside the tent. I leave Chris's sleeping body and exit the tent.

The moon shines bright in the starry sky tonight. Not a single cloud to obscure the lovely sight. When I look around the sky, I can see so many bright stars. Now there is no city lights to dim the stars out from our vision. They're sitting in the same spot but my vision is off from just waking up and standing up too fast, making it look like the stars and twinkling and floating around in the dark night sky.

I hear more noises towards the gate and walk over to the sound, looking away from the beautiful scenery above. On the ground I see a body hunched over, shoulders shaking. I walk around the person and sit down, getting a closer look.

It's Todd.

I watch him cry for a minute, gathering words to say. But I can't find the correct words and I don't know what to do to comfort him.

"Todd?" I decide to whisper.

His head shoots up. He looks at me and tilts his head to the side, almost like a confused dog. He stares at me for a moment, almost like he's angry, and then he suddenly smiles. "Hello, Alice."

I smile back. "Are you okay? Do you need anything?"

He laughs. Something I didn't expect him to do. He then wipes the tears away from his face and laughs again, shaking his head. "They were just like you."

"Who?" I ask, confused by his sudden change in emotion.

"They were just like you," he repeats. "Fragile. Vulnerable. Sweet."

"Who?" I ask again.

"My daughters," he says. "My babies. My dear children who I raised to be great people. Now look at what happened." He shakes his head and runs his fingers along the pistol in his hand. "Jessica was your age. Hannah was only eight. She was the sweetest little ball of sunshine anyone could meet. She was great."

"Beautiful names," I say.

He nods. "Yes, beautiful names. My wife named them both. She was an intelligent woman. I may have been a business man but she took home the biggest paycheck. But once the virus hit, money didn't matter anymore. Everything I learned to do was for money. I learned everything for my occupation. But I wasn't prepared for this. She wasn't, either. But she still thought things through better than I ever could."

I get a sense of where this is going and I don't know how to respond or how to prepare myself.

"Occupations of a business man doesn't matter in this world anymore. My knowledge upon those things do not save lives. I don't have experience with guns or knives."

I look down at the pistol in his hand. "Then why do you carry that?"

He doesn't answer. "I didn't know that when Hannah was sick she'd turn and kill. It was the day the towns went dark. Barely anything on the radios. Static. so much static." He takes in a deep breath. "The people who were on TV said to stay away from the ill. To quarantine them in a room, basically until they died. But she was our daughter. How could we let her die alone while choking on her own saliva? How could we let her have a fever of one hundred and five and let her brain boil? She was our daughter."

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