Prologue: Weeks after initial viral outbreak

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I want to smash every single window.

Why the hell am I even here?

I close my eyes. I can still see everything I want to forget stamped behind my lids, but it sticks to my brain like forgotten lollipops embedded into the couch. I can't wipe it off or make it go away, and that pisses me off to no end.

I flick my eyes open and continue to pass them over every nook and cranny, every brick and niche of my old house. How can one place cause me so much anger... pain? Well, maybe it's not so much the place itself, but what happened outside these walls while I hid inside that will forever scar my precious soul. How I haven't lost my mind by now, I'll never know.

The sun burns into my back, and a thin film of sweat forms on my neck, reminding me that summer is ending but still holding on with tooth and nail. I'm standing in the middle of the road of a perfectly normal neighborhood. It could be a quiet midday siesta time, or everyone could still be at work based on the serenity surrounding me in maddening stillness.

Yet it's not. It's deader than a cemetery after midnight. No one will come out to greet anyone. No one will run out and ask me if I'm suicidal for standing in the middle of the road where someone could come careening around the curb in their family SUV and slam into me. Not a soul is alive to do so.

You see, I'm alone. Alone here in the remains of my city, Las Vegas. It's abandoned...neglected...nothing but a memory swimming in my head now. Everyone is dead. All the people I knew are either gone or sleeping in the deepest darkness they can find in this ever-bright desert town. Not a soul roams the street during the daylight but me and what's left of my tiny family.

"April, what's gotten into you?"

My mother's voice echoes in my head as I watch our old house waver from the tears fighting to fill my eyes. She's not here but hunkered down hiding with my brother Jeremy to keep the sun off their backs and to keep the harm far away. I'm back in town, staring at our old house, about to walk in and get the rest of the memorabilia we were unable to grab when we left in a rush while all hell broke loose. This isn't our home anymore, and that's why I'm madder than a hatter.

I wish it still was. Oh, how I wish nothing had ever changed. Why did it have to happen?

I peer around to the windows of the other houses. Some are decimated, shattered, broken into and looted. Others sit untouched, silent and watching me... observing me as they stand guard in the desolation. Still more, like ours, are boarded up to keep the nightmares out... or to keep the monsters trapped inside.

But no one is here. I know because I've checked. I've broken into all the houses that looked boarded up and secured. But who can run from a virus that flies through the air and takes control of the very thing you need the most; your body, your mind, everything that you are?

"I'm here! Why not kill me too? I'm waiting!" The dizziness as I spin makes me stop, but the answer doesn't come. I think I hear a lonely crow caw at my interruption of its perfectly tuned day. It's the only response to my breakdown, and I worry it will never change.    

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