My dreams always started the same way. I was running, running from a horde. We were in the hospital here in New York. I’d keep yelling for Eddie and he wouldn’t come. I couldn’t find him. I saw the bodies of everyone I’d ever known in corpse piles along the hallways. I’d be in the common room and the lab upstairs. I’d be back in my cell. Always the growling of the nearby Zs. Except I wasn’t the age I am now or even what I was a year ago. I was the little girl again. Pigtails and wishing for my brother to come home. Mother, why do you hate me? Her skin was rotting off. I was trapped in my cell the corner. And then I was surrounded by zombies, growling, growling. I wanted to scream but nothing came out. Eddie was there now but he’d turned. So was Jimmy. And Ben. And Eunice. And Kyle. They kept filling my cell. It wasn’t big enough. Zombies kept climbing and stepping on each other. Some of the growling became words. I heard my name rise up through the noise. ‘Haley, Haley, Haley’. I didn’t understand. I was a little girl. I should have been playing with dolls, taking their heads off to see how they work. Why are your eyes missing, Ben? The chant changed. ‘Help us, help us, help us’. I put my hands over my ears to make them stop to quiet the voices but the growls and voices kept coming. I couldn’t stop it. I was standing in the center of my house, the house I grew up in, holding a lit match. The zombie multitude stared at my fingertips and followed the flame. The voices continued. ‘Save us, Haley.’ The flame grew bigger but my fingers felt cold. The voices rose and rose and rose. I said ‘STOP’ as loud as I could and they all froze dead, even deader than they were, in their tracks…
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