Alistair stood on the porch watching the rain fall on the trees and bushes in the backyard. He glanced at their rain barrels. They were nearly full now, and should give them at least enough water for a couple of days. He breathed a sigh of relief. Going to the river for water was tough and dangerous. They’d done it several times already, but lost one person and nearly lost another. It took them several hours to get there, an hour or two to fill up their water buckets, and then several hours to get back. It took the entire crew to carry everything there and back, leaving their house unsecured while they were gone.
They’d originally gone to a local pond for water, but it wasn’t safe. There were too many houses along the way, and too many changed people. He couldn’t even really think of them as people anymore. Sure they looked like people, but they didn’t act like them. They didn’t think like humans, or reason like them. All they seemed to think about was food, but not the kind of food humans ate, no. For them, humans were the food.
The virus had changed them. He didn’t know how, why, or where the virus had come from, but it was devastating. Those who got the virus were changed. Those who didn’t get it spent their days fighting to survive.
“Looks like we won’t need to go to the river tomorrow, huh?” Kyrie’s voice startled him and he turned to face her.
His sister stood next to him, her long black hair pulled back in two pigtails. She’d come out so quietly, he’d never heard the screen door open and shut. “You scared me. How about giving a guy a warning?”
She frowned. “You think the nippers are gonna give you a warning?”
He rolled his eyes, but knew she was right. He needed to be more careful or he’d find himself mindlessly wandering the streets for human food. “Yeah, I’ll watch it next time.”
“You’d better. I don’t need to loose you too.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed him in a hug. Kyrie was 13, but she’d had to grow up way too fast.
“You won’t. I’m not going anywhere.” He offered her a smile and squeezed her back , then stood with one arm around her shoulders as they watched the rain fall.
“I miss her. I wish this whole thing had never happened.”
“I miss her too.” He was quiet for a moment, listening to the rain fall softly around them. “And Dad too.”
His sister nodded. “I wish this virus hadn’t taken Dad. I wonder if he remembers us? Or if he’s just out there wandering the streets, lost and alone?”
He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. He’s lost to us now.”
“Don’t say that Alistair! We don’t know that. Maybe he’ll come back to us one day. Maybe they’ll find a cure for this, and he’ll be fine.”
“Yeah maybe.” He didn’t want to argue with his sister, but he knew there was no coming back from this. Their dad had been a solider. When he’d been taken by the virus, they’d come to talk to his wife, and Alistair had overheard the conversation between the men and his mother. There was nothing that could be done. Researchers had tried many different things, but nothing had worked. The virus couldn’t be stopped, and the people couldn’t be saved from it. Nothing more could be done, except to destroy the nippers and try to rebuild society.
His little sister didn’t need to know all that though. He was 19, he was more prepared to handle it than she was. For now, they needed to get through until they could find another group. If they found enough people, enough good people, then maybe, just maybe they could rebuilt society, destroy the nippers and start again. He had to hope for that least. For without hope, all truly was lost.
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