or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница

Walter pull the gun on me, and wasn’t sure this was a good idea, either. We followed Joy inside, and Walter

locked up behind us.

Joy wiped her hands on her trousers and paused in the center of the living room. e house was

immaculate, but the carpet was at least thirty years old, and it smelled like it. “We’re going to sleep downstairs

in the basement. Walter is going to nail the door shut for the night.”

“What if they get in the house?” I said quietly.

Walter held his gun at his side. “We’ve got food and water or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница down there. Joy was just bringing more. ey

don’t seem to notice the house, though. They’re all attracted to something on the other side of town.”

“There’s a car with a security system going off on the highway. They’re all crowded around that.”

Walter frowned, deep in thought. “So they’re attracted to sound. We’ll just keep quiet. ey won’t have a

reason to mess around here. I’ll lock the doors. I don’t think they’ll try to get in through the windows unless we

draw attention to ourselves.”

It made me nervous or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница to think we wouldn’t have an exit strategy, but it was better than nothing, and safer than

sleeping upstairs.

Zoe and I helped Joy bring food and water downstairs to the basement. It was finished, with a couch and a

couple of recliners facing a flat-screen television.

Walter laughed once. “Joy bought that for me for Christmas last year. All you can see on it now is snow.”

Zoe and I snuggled up on a yellow and brown plaid couch while Walter nailed the basement door shut, and

then nailed a two-by-four across the middle section. Joy covered or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница us with a blanket, also straight out of the

1970s, and in record time, Zoe was relaxed and sleeping in my arms. I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to sleep

because we were in a strange place, but she was exhausted. I rested my cheek against her hair. e light-brown

strands were stringy and tangled, making me think of all the comforts of home we no longer had. Simple

things, like a brush.

“You sure have a pretty girl there,” Joy whispered, smiling. “My daughter Darla lives in Midland. You ever

been to Midland?”

I shook my head.

“We were actually packing to or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница go see them this weekend. We were going to leave yesterday, but I wanted to

make sure I had someone to water my flowers before we left.” She sighed, and her eyes filled with tears. “I

might never see her again, or my grandbabies. Because of the goddamn flowers.”

“You could see her again.”

“You think so?” she said, cautious hope in her voice.

I smiled and kissed Zoe’s temple, and then leaned my head back against the cushion. “ank you. For

letting us stay here tonight.”

“You can stay as long as you like,” Joy whispered, glancing up or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница at her husband still busy securing the door.

“Who knows when this is all sorted out . . . or if it will ever be.”

ey look like they’re having a seizure, he used to say. I didn’t like it, either, but I would ignore it if it meant I

could see his blue eyes. Bryce’s smile was amazing, and he was nothing less than noble, but his eyes were my

favorite part about him. I think I fell in love with them before I fell in love with him.

Ashley and Cooper were cuddled together. With just a cardigan, white or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница tee, and baby blue fashion scarf, she

wasn’t any more prepared to be without heat than I was in my cotton T-shirt and light jacket. e guys didn’t

show it if they were cold.

“What is that noise?” Cooper asked, turning his right ear in the direction of the kitchen. His eyes bounced

around as he listened.

Bryce grabbed my hand and stood, leading me to the doorway of the kitchen. It was dark in there, too, but

there were a few candles around the room. e small flames provided just enough light for us to see Skeeter

McGee on his knees, weeping over or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница the woman lying on the floor. He was trying to keep quiet. If it wasn’t for

him sucking in a breath every now and then, I might not have known.

“Oh my God!” Ashley said.

Bryce shushed her, and returned his attention to Skeeter. “Is she . . . ?”

Doris brought a blanket from the hall and spread it over the top of the woman. “God bless you, Jill. May the

Lord open his arms wide for you and keep you.”

We all stood there and watched in uncomfortable silence while Skeeter sobbed quietly for another twenty

minutes or so. After a while or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница he caught his breath, and then wiped his face. “So I guess uh . . . I guess we better

bury her.”

Doris shifted, nervous. “How are we going to do that with those things out there?”

An older man with white hair spoke. “We can’t just throw her outside, Doris, and she can’t stay in here.”

Doris fidgeted, finally putting her fingers to her mouth. “I’m . . . I’m so sorry, Skeeter, but I can’t go out


“I’ll go,” Bryce said. Skeeter looked up at him with wet eyes. “I’ll help you. We’ll need or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница someone watching

our backs, and maybe a distraction, but I’ll help you dig.”

I crossed my arms, trying to keep the words I was about to say from falling out of my mouth, but they came

anyway. “I’ll help, too. I’ll distract them.”

“You can be the lookout,” Bryce said. “Coop was in track. He can be the distraction.”

“What?” Cooper said, eyes wide. “Me?”

Ashley grabbed on to him. “No,” she frowned, desperation in her voice. “We’re not sending him out there as


Cooper wrapped both arms around Ashley, his eyes falling on Skeeter. “I appreciate you helping or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница us out

back there, man, but going outside in the dark is an unnecessary risk. What if they get inside and we’re all out

there digging a hole? There are women and children in here.”

“I’m buryin’ my wife,” Skeeter said, standing. He was just as tall as Bryce, and a lot more intimidating. “I’m

not asking anyone for help.”

“I know you’re not,” Bryce said. “Let’s take a minute and think of a plan so that everyone is safe.”

Skeeter wiped his face again and nodded. e white-haired man went over to the woman’s body or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница and began

to quietly pray.

“It should be light before long,” I said. “Let’s put together a plan, and when the sun comes up, we’ll bury Jill.”

Skeeter nodded. “Thank you.”

e youngest and oldest of us were fast asleep while we planned Jill’s funeral. e church’s cemetery wasn’t

fifty yards away. Skeeter wanted to bury her there. Already my heart was pounding, thinking about standing in

the morning fog, in a cemetery, watching for zombies. It didn’t get any more Hollywood horror story than


“I’m going to bury her by her or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница grandpa,” Skeeter said. “He was laid to rest on the north side.”

Bryce nodded. “Okay, so Eric and Gary get on the roof and get them away from the back door. Coop can

run out and get them to follow him around until we’re finished.”

“How long do you think that’ll take?” Cooper asked, swallowing hard. “To dig a grave, I mean.”

Bryce shrugged. “As long as it takes. We’ll work fast as we can.”

Ashley sighed. “This isn’t a good idea.”

“I’ll keep an eye out while you’re digging,” I said. “Cooper will or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница run around like lost zombie bait . . .”

“I’ll say a few words,” the reverend said, straightening his tie. He looked more nervous than Ashley. “And

then we’re getting the hell back inside.”

“Not before,” Skeeter took in a quick breath, “not before I make sure she doesn’t come back, and we cover

her with dirt.”

I nodded. It was a plan. A simple plan. There was no way it was going to work, but at least we had one.

Chapter Thirteen

e words were an afterthought, an outlet for her residual anger, but they burned through my clothes and

charred my or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница skin, leaving a brand so inexorable, it wore me even as I fought to survive the end of the world.

Was I selfish for leaving Anderson? Should I have stayed and waited for them? Would that choice sentence

me to a life without ever seeing their sweet faces again?

The Jeep’s headlights lit up dozens of shufflers. Like a herd of sheep, they meandered about in the middle of

the road. I winced at the sight of children among them. Some with visible bites on their carotids. Some with

mouthfuls of their skin and muscle missing; all covered in the blood of their or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница former selves. Jenna’s and Halle’s

faces flashed in my mind, and then were projected onto the faces of those children. Tears sizzled down my


I slammed on the brake and gripped the steering wheel. If I chose to drive through them and was forced to

stop, they could surround the Jeep. On one side was a grassy knoll. A rock with the town’s name, Shallot,

carved into the stone sat at the crest of the small, gentle hill. e sun had begun to rise, so I could just barely

see the shadows of more shufflers crossing the sign or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница and making their way down to the road toward the noisy

car. Noise attracted them.

e left side was field. Acres upon acres of wheat field, still saturated from the downpour the previous

morning. If I wanted to make it to the ranch, I had two choices: drive through the herd, up that knoll and hope

if I hit one of those things it didn’t crash through the windshield, or risk getting trapped in the muddy field.

Courage came slowly. Each beat of my heart felt like an explosion as my hand rested against the center of

the steering wheel, preparing to or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница press down. I took a breath, and then honked the horn once. Dozens of dead

slowly craned their necks in my direction. e explosions in my chest turned into the cadence of a thousand

tiny sprinters. Even sitting still, I began to pant with fear. After a short pause, they began to hobble and limp

toward the Jeep. Again, I honked and waited. Despite the shufflers being less than twenty yards away, I pressed

the heel of my palm against the center of the steering wheel, holding it there, until every last one of those

fuckers were moaning and reaching out or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница for the meal seeming so eager to be had. My fear kept my hand down,

waiting, hoping they would move faster so I could drive past them and in the opposite direction of their new


When the shufflers were just over an arm length away, I jerked the wheel to the left and headed toward the

wheat field.

“Don’t get stuck. Don’t get stuck,” I repeated. My hands jerked the wheel right to make a large circle around

the herd, and panicked when the Jeep struggled in the mud. “C’mon!” I yelled, my fingers digging into the

padding or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница of the steering wheel.

e Jeep weaved back and forth, fishtailing and threatening to lose control, but the mud tires clawed

through the rain-swollen soil, and back onto the road. After turning into the skid more than once, the Jeep

straightened out, and I was screaming in victory, barreling toward the white tower.

e sun had just peaked over the horizon when I saw the water tower looming above the trees. With

Halle’s sweet singing in my mind, I turned the wheel, never so happy to hit dirt road. By the time I turned left

at the cemetery, the night sky had or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница cowered from the clear, bright blue sky. e storm clouds from the day

before had moved on. If the world hadn’t gone to shit, it might have been considered a beautiful day. e Jeep

took the right at the first mile section hard, but I couldn’t slow down. e closer I came to sanctuary, the more

afraid I was. My foot was grinding the gas pedal to the floorboard, but the Jeep’s engine just growled louder

instead of going faster. Maybe five minutes had passed since seeing the white tower, but it seemed to be taking

an eternity.

Turning into the drive or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница, my foot instinctively pulled away from the accelerator. Dr. Hayes’s truck was in the

yard, and a silver Mercedes was parked next to it. He’d made it home.

I didn’t even bother to shut the Jeep door. e second my feet touched the ground, I broke into a sprint,

only stopping until my hands hit the door.

“Dr. Hayes? It’s me! Scarlet!” e side of my fist pounded against the wooden frame of the screen door.

“Dr. Hayes? It’s Scarlet! I’m not sick . . . please . . . please let me in.”

With every passing second or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница, my relief and excitement turned to disappointment. He was a radiologist, for

Christ’s sake, he had more than one beat-up pickup. Dr. Hayes and his girlfriend, Leah, only stayed there on

his off week. e radiologists worked two weeks on, one week off, and they all had a farm or ranch they ran

away to during those seven precious days. Leah was an attorney and lived two hours north. ey usually had

me clean the weekend before they met in the middle—the farmhouse. It was her Mercedes in the yard. ey’d

probably met here and then took the doctor’s car or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница somewhere else. To get his daughters, maybe.

The light on the barn flickered and then turned off. I had nowhere else to go. I had to get inside.

I pulled open the door slowly, wincing at the loud creaking sound it made. e doorknob twisted and with

caution, I pushed it open and listened. “Dr. Hayes?” I said softly, half hoping he wouldn’t hear me, and half

hoping he would.

e house seemed untouched. When I’d checked every room and decided no one was home, I wandered to

the back porch and hoisted myself onto the dryer, wondering what I needed or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница to do to secure the house. Should

I board up the windows? It wasn’t my house to alter, but even if Dr. Hayes made it back here with Miranda

and Ashley, he might be glad some of the work had been done. My eyes drifted to the floor, and relief and fear

hit almost simultaneously. ere were muddy footprints in front of the door that led to the side patio. I

hopped down off the dryer and looked out the Plexiglas that took up the top half of the door. Something was

splattered on the concrete. Something sticky with chunks or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница of something else—definitely vomit. e footprints

led inside and to my right, down the stairs, and into the basement.

I’d cleaned the basement many times before. It was used for storage, was carpeted, painted, and not at all

scary, but in that moment I was terrified to walk down those stairs.

I stared at the trail of mud and whatever else, and then finally took the first step. It complained under my

foot, and I squeezed my eyes tight, hoping nothing jumped out at me as punishment for making a sound.

When nothing happened, my eyes popped open, and I or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница immediately searched for a weapon. e closest thing

was a hammer sitting in a hand-held, red toolbox lying open on the floor. I quickly picked it up, making sure I

had a good grip, and then descended the stairs, preparing myself for whatever might be down there.

If he’s alive, don’t hit him. Don’t just swing. Don’t just react. ose thoughts were on loop, getting louder

with every step, which made it difficult to listen for anything that might signal I might actually need to swing in


The door opened, and I bent forward to look inside or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница, immediately seeing a pair of legs lying flat on the floor.

ey were Leah’s, and even though I couldn’t see all of her, I could tell she was face down. After a quick glance

to both sides, I stepped in, following the trail. Dr. Hayes was sitting back against the wall, a large wound in his

neck, and a single gunshot hole in his temple. One of his many handguns was at his side, next to his open,

lifeless hand. Leah also had a head wound, similar to Dr. Hayes’s, but her chin and chest were or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница covered in blood,

and the missing piece from Dr. Hayes’s neck was peeking from her mouth.

Blood was sprayed in several directions: on the open gun safe in the corner, the wall, and floor. From what I

could tell, Dr. Hayes had come to the basement to get a gun for protection, but Leah had apparently caught

him in the act, and attacked him. She must have turned quick. He must have been running from her. I

imagined that he knew he was infected, so after shooting her, he’d killed himself. It made sense.

Suddenly I felt very alone. It hadn or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница’t crossed my mind that the ranch would be devoid of anybody else. His

daughters weren’t here. Leah was dead. Would the rest of his family try to make it to this safe haven? Miranda

and Ashley were supposed to visit this weekend. Maybe they were already on their way. If not, maybe they

would have the same idea I had and come here anyway with their mother. e ranch was obviously the best

place to be, and even though they didn’t visit as often, Dr. Hayes, like every girl’s father, was their protector. It

made sense for them to try or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница to make it here. That was my hope, anyway.

Dr. Hayes was just smiling about his daughters visiting the morning before. I couldn’t believe he was sitting

in a pool of his own blood just a few feet from me. It was so surreal, I couldn’t find an emotion to attach to the

situation. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the gruesome scene until it finally dawned on me that if the girls

did reach the ranch, they could see their father like this.

“Damnit,” I said. My mind went on an inexplicable memory search for every time or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница I’d seen the doctor eat a

donut. He was a stout man, and I had no idea how I was going to pull him up the stairs.

I walked over to the mess and picked up the pistol off the floor. e safety was off. With my foot, I nudged

Leah’s hip, pointing the gun at the back of her head. A rather large exit wound was visible, but I didn’t want any

surprises. She rocked forward, and then didn’t move again, prompting me to click on the gun’s safety feature.

Satisfied they weren’t going or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница to attack me, I walked upstairs—gun in hand—through the house to the front

porch. I stood on the wood deck, taking stock of my surroundings, trying to decide what I should do first.

A sudden wave of exhaustion came over me, and I sat on the steps so hard that I hurt my ass. I’d made it.

We had said this was the place to come if an apocalypse happened. It happened, and I was here. Without my


I shook off the thought, refusing to shed another tear. ey were on their way here, and I had to get or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница this

place ready for them. ere was definitely plenty of work to do, but I knew I would collapse soon, and certain

precautions needed to be taken so I could fall asleep safely. ere were old boards in the barn, but the bull was

in there, too. Securing the windows and the perimeter and burying Leah and the doctor would have to be done

before I could sleep. All of that would likely take all day. I stood up and took a deep breath, wondering how

much more I could push my body before it just couldn’t go any or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница longer.

I walked around the back to the shed and found a shovel, and then found a nice spot under the big maple

tree on the south side of the house, and began to dig.

wife was gone, and Zoe and I were on the run.

To my right were the old couple, Walter and Joy. Walter was asleep in his recliner, snoring. He would suck

air in through his nose, and then blow it out from his mouth, the air building up until it escaped from his lips.

Joy was awake, watching me with a smile.

“He’s always done that,” she or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница said quietly. “Used to drive me nuts. Now it’s relaxing.”

I sat up, careful not to wake Zoe. e sun lit up the room from the small rectangular windows near the

ceiling. The television was on, but muted.

“I don’t think the news is going to come back on, but at least we still have electricity.”

I nodded, folding my arms across my chest. “Wonder if you’ll get a bill?”

Joy laughed once. “I doubt it. I saw my postman walk by yesterday afternoon.”

at struck me as funny, even though it was morbid as hell, and I or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница couldn’t stop the laughter that bubbled to

the service. Joy began to giggle, too. We were trying not to wake Walter and Zoe, so our laughter consisted of

breathing and shuddering. Joy’s eyes began to water, and then she stood. “I’m going to make a cup of coffee.

Want one?”

I nodded. “I better go with you.”

I made sure Zoe was still snugly tucked into the blanket, and then I followed Joy upstairs. She started a pot

in silence, and I checked outside. ere were no broken windows or open doors, and I didn’t see or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница any of the

sick, either. I stepped onto the porch. In the distance, I could barely make out the sound of the alarm from the

highway. It was still going off. Skeeter, Jill, and even Aubrey crossed my mind: where they were, if they were

safe, if they got any rest the night before. Other people from my life flooded my thoughts as well. My boss,

who was a huge asshole, but his wife and children were very sweet; my cousin Brandon and his six kids; our

neighbors; Mrs. Grace, my second grade teacher. It was possible that almost everyone I’d ever known or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница was

dead. Or . . . a version of dead.

Joy was just pouring the steaming, dark coffee into a mug when I returned to the kitchen. “I meant what I

said last night,” she said, encouraging me to sit. “You and Zoe are welcome here for as long as you like.”

I added creamer and sugar to my cup and swirled it around with a spoon. “I appreciate that. But don’t you

think it’s dangerous to try to see this through in town? We just came from Fairview. We were inside the

church with several other people. e sick were or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница trying to tear it apart. I left with Zoe because it’s only a matter

of time before they got in.”

“I couldn’t imagine leaving here. I don’t know where we’d go.”

“Do you know anyone with some land near here? Out of the way? at’s what I was hoping we would come


Joy thought for a minute. Instead of answering, she took a sip of coffee. Her eyes were kind, the light blue

in her irises even more pronounced bordered by her silver hair, but they also gave her away. She was holding

something back. I didn or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница’t know these people, but if I had a chance of learning whatever it was that she was

keeping from me, it was in that moment, while I had Joy alone.

“I understand. You don’t know me or Zoe. I didn’t mean to pry.”

Joy frowned, clearly conflicted. “Oh, it’s not that, Nathan. I’m just not sure.”

“Sure of what?”

e basement door opened. “Your little girl is awake, Nathan. I tried talking to her, but I think she’s

confused. You might get down there before she gets too upset,” Walter said. “Bring her up for some or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница breakfast.

We’ll try to keep her mind off things.”

I nodded with an appreciative smile, and then left the table, hoping that wasn’t my only chance.

Chapter Fourteen


tears. “You left me!”

“I didn’t leave,” I said, rushing to my knees in front of her on the couch. I kept my voice calm and soothing.

“I was just upstairs talking to Miss Joy.”

It was irresponsible of me to let Zoe wake up alone in a strange place. My daughter was sensitive to many

things—fabric, noise, situations—and our routine had kept her calm for the or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница most part. A year had almost

passed since Zoe’s last “episode,” as her school counselor called them, but I could always tell when she was

working up to one.

Knowing we needed to be quiet to survive, Zoe couldn’t release an overstimulation like she used to. I

refused to make it a rule, though. Not before she found another outlet. “Zoe,” I said, letting my voice slide over

the back of my tongue. Aubrey didn’t have the patience for this, but she also didn’t have a butter voice, as she

called it. Zoe responded much better to the silky smooth or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница tone I used for these moments.

Zoe balled up her fist and hit my shoulder. It didn’t hurt. She didn’t mean for it to, she was just releasing

the overwhelming emotions she couldn’t process any other way. “Never leave me!”

“I wouldn’t. I would never leave you. I’m sorry you were afraid when you woke up. That’s my fault.”

She used her other hand to hit my chest. “I was! I was afraid!”

“That’s it,” I said, encouraging her. “Use your words.”

Zoe took a deep breath, always a good sign or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница. “I was having a bad dream! I didn’t know where I was! I

thought you were dead!”

I nodded. Her eyes were wild and her body trembled, a signal that she wasn’t quite on the down slope, but

she was peaking.

“Never again!”

“You know I can’t make promises, Zoe.”

“No, you promise!” she screamed.

I nodded. “What I can promise is to never leave without telling you again. You’ll always know where I am.


Zoe took in a staggering breath, and then breathed out. She blinked a few times, and then her eyes relaxed.

I held out my or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница arms for her to hug me. She wouldn’t have allowed me to before she was ready, anyway. I’d

learned over the years to just offer and wait.

When her tiny body was nuzzled up against mine, I wrapped my arms around her. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m

here. You’re safe and loved. Safe and loved.”

Zoe melted against me and whimpered. It was exhausting and frightening for her when she lost control,

and if she hadn’t just woke up, she probably would have lied down for a nap. I wiped her eyes and took her


“Miss or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница Joy made breakfast.”

I led her up the stairs, unable to ignore the looks from Walter and Joy. I had become accustomed to them.

People who happened to be around during an episode were usually either annoyed or sympathetic, with no in-

between. A woman at the mall once approached Aubrey to advise us that Zoe just needed a good spanking. It

seemed like everyone who didn’t understand always knew how to parent Zoe better than we did. Even if they

didn’t say it, they let us know with their expressions. Zoe never seemed to notice. I or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница hoped she never would.

“Here you go, Zoe. I hope you like cinnamon rolls.”

“Oh, I do,” Zoe said, her eyes big and her smile wide. She followed the plate until it was in front of her, and

didn’t hesitate to pick one up with both hands and shove it into her mouth.

Joy smiled. “I didn’t figure she’d want a fork.”

“Nope,” I said. “I can’t thank you enough.”

“Daddy? Where’s Mommy?” Zoe asked through a mouthful of bread.

“She’s uh . . .” I stuttered, looking to Joy. “She went on a trip.”

“Is she coming back or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница? How will she find us?”

My mouth pulled to the side. “I don’t know, baby.”

Zoe looked down at her cinnamon roll, clearly trying to process the news.

A small dog began to yap. Just a few times at first, and then consistently. Joy smiled. “at’s Princess. She

belongs to the Carsons next door. I’ve been feeding her and letting her out in the backyard. Would you like to

help me feed Princess, Zoe?”

Zoe nodded emphatically, shoving the rest of the cinnamon roll in her mouth as she pushed her chair away

from the table. e chair screeched or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница against the floor as she did so, and I closed one eye tight, recoiling from

the noise.

Walter smiled. “is floor has survived three grandchildren, two of ’em boys. I think it can stand up to


We spent the rest of the day talking and watching the road. After she and Zoe returned from feeding

Princess, Joy found a few board games and some cards, and played Go Fish with Zoe. It was quiet, but once in

a while, someone from Shallot would shuffle by, their eyes milky white, and always with a wound. I wondered

if people that had or visit us online to sign up at 6 страница been bitten were slowly turning and making their way out to the road.

Walter and I returned to the porch to sit in twin wooden rockers after the last dead person wandered by.

Joy brought us sandwiches and apple slices. I thanked her, wondering when my next chance would come to ask

her about what she didn’t say that morning.

“at was Jesse Biggins,” Walter said, biting off a piece of apple. He shook his head. “He’s a big hunter.

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