Prologue

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        "Get the bags!" the man screams to his wife. He can hear two of his three children screaming at him, asking him questions constantly. He's never wanted them to shut up so much, and he didn't think that was even possible.

        "We're not leaving Alice!" she screams at the man. "How dare you think we can just leave our own daughter at a time like this?"

        The man marches up to her, looking down at his wife with a deadly fire in his eyes. "We take her with us and we're all dead. They're going to think she's infected, and then they're going to prevent us all from going to the Safe Haven. Dammit, Jennet, I don't want to leave her either. But it'll be safer. Once the virus is controlled, we can easily come back here."

        "She's hooked up to wires that are feeding her and keeping her alive. What happens if the power shuts off here? We can't fix that! We can't help her! And what if she wakes up, Dan?" Jennet grows hysterical, crying and pleading her husband to bring their daughter to the Safe Haven with them. His face doesn't change. "For Christ sake, please!"

        The knock on the door causes them to jump. The house falls silent. Then the knocking comes again, and someones outside, shouting for them to open the door. Jennet summons her son and daughter to her and hides them in the hallway. She peers behind the wall, watching her husband peek through the peephole on the door. He opens it.

        "What the hell are you still doing in your house? Get out! Everyone is being evacuated out of the city. Get your bags!" the police officer yells.

        Dan nods his head. He looks over to his family. "Jen, put the bags in the car and get Josh and Amy in the car. Now. I'll take care of Alice."

        Jennet looks at her husband one final time before ushering Amy and Josh to get their bags. She orders them into the car and disappears into the hallway, hurrying to Alice's room. She kneels beside her daughters bed, tears streaming down her pale face. "Alice?" she whispers. Hoping, just hoping, her daughter would respond. Would open those precious blue eyes. She says her name again, louder, but still no response. She puts her head on her daughters chest, listening to her faint heartbeat. "I love you. I love you, Alice. I'm so sorry. I don't want to. I love you." She kisses her daughter for what might be the last time.

        Dan passes her in the hall, watching her wipe the tears from her face. His heart lurches in his chest. He doesn't want this, but does he have a choice? He enters his oldest daughters room and sits on her bed with paper and pen in hand. He talks to her as he writes the letter. When he's done, he checks the monitor and makes sure everything is okay. Without another look, he leaves his daughter alone. He sets down the paper and walks out of the door with his last bag, closing the door behind him.

        The only sound left is the sound of Alice's beating heart on the monitor.

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