The sounds of the dead hadn’t stopped for two days. Two God damned days. The moans were there, of course, but so were the other sounds. The stomping of hundreds of feet. The rub of bodies pushing past each other, as if in some massive mosh pit. The occasional meow of a cat that’s gotten away from them. Or one that’s been caught. And then, the crying and coughing and screaming of the love of my life, bedridden in the next room.

“Daddy?” I heard her call out to me. I checked the clip in my pistol, then went to her side.

“I’m here, sweetheart. I’m right here.” I put my hand out for her to grab. She’d lost sight the day before, and screamed like a banshee until I could calm her down.

“Its … its almost time.” I looked at her in surprise and pain, a gesture I knew she couldn’t see.

“Don’t talk like that, dear. Your mother will be back with your medicine soon, and everything will work out just fine.” A lie. Her mother wrecked the car on her way out, and was dragged away by … well, by them.

“Dad,” she said, and I stopped talking. She looked so grown up at that moment. I hesitated, then nodded in agreement. There was no lying about this.

“What can I do for you, sugar?” I asked, wondering how I was going to survive all of this without the two most important people in the world to me.

“When I …” she started, “When it happens, don’t let me come back, okay?” My eyes began to sting, but I forced it all down. Plenty of time for all that later. ”I don’t wanna come back.”

“Of course not, sweetheart,” I answered her. It was a while before either of us could talk again. The world was filled with only the dead sounds. After a while, she broke it.

“Daddy?” she said, in an almost-whisper.

“Yes, sweetheart?”

“Will you … will you tell me a story?”

I sighed. I wiped the tears from my eyes, and then began.