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“Are you okay?” Boden asked.

“Yeah.” I nodded. “I’m okay.”

I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t. My body didn’t seem to want to work that way, and pain spread through me.

“Don’t sit up,” Daniels said. “I’ve got it. You just rest.”

I lay back, and he started sliding off my pants again. I didn’t feel any real shame at having him undress me, since he’d had to do it before in his capacity as my doctor. He’d actually seen me naked dozens of times before, and nothing inappropriate ever came of it.

Boden let go of my arms, and for reasons I didn’t fully understand, I grabbed onto his hand, gripping tightly.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Why are you sorry?” Boden asked with a crooked smile. With his free hand, he brushed back the hair from forehead.

“I don’t know. I just feel like I should be sorry.”

“You don’t need to be,” he assured me.

“How’s Max?” I asked.

“He’s good,” Boden said. “He’s worried about you, of course, but he’s fine.”

“And Stella?”

“She’s good, too.” He smiled. “She said that if you need her teddy bear, you can have it. It always makes her feel better.”

“I think I’ll be okay,” I said, smiling back. My lips were dry, and it actually hurt to smile.

“Good. But just get some rest, okay? You need to sleep.”

I wanted to stay awake and talk more, although I’m not sure what I would’ve said. But Boden was right, and I was out the instant I closed my eyes.

I woke up on and off after that, but I was never awake for long. Max came in to see me, and I remember promising him I would be fine, but that was about it. I mostly slept and had vivid nightmares, usually about the quarantine, but sometimes about other things, like Blue the zombie. But in my nightmares, Blue always won.

“Remy.” Daniels was shaking me awake, but I tried to resist. “Remy. Come on. You need to eat something.”

“I don’t want to eat,” I mumbled and tried to roll over, but his hand was strong on my shoulder.

“You know, it would be so much easier for me to save your life if you weren’t fighting me all the time.” Daniels sighed. “Remy. You have to eat. You haven’t had anything in two days, and you can’t fight off the infection if you’re starving to death.”

“Two days?” I opened my eyes and looked up at him. “How long have I been asleep?”

“Two days,” Daniels replied. He had a plate covered in canned tuna, mashed potatoes, and spinach, and he held it out toward me. “Eat.”

“Two days?” I asked dubiously, and I pushed myself up so I was sitting a bit. My stomach felt sore when I moved, but it felt much better than it had before.

“Yeah, I thought you might go into a coma there for a while,” Daniels said. “But your fever broke this morning, and your color’s returned. I think you might actually live.”

“Thanks.” I took the plate from him, and using the fork he handed me, I tentatively started to pick at the food.

“Remy, why did you wait so long to tell me about that?” Daniels asked. “That would’ve been a simple infection with a quick fix if you hadn’t waited so long.”

“I don’t know.” I ate a mouthful of tuna, even though my appetite hadn’t returned, but I knew I had to eat. “I was mad at you.”

“You were mad at me?” He sighed. “So your plan to punish me was to kill yourself?”

“No, I didn’t think it would get that bad.” I shook my head. “I don’t know. I didn’t want to bother anybody.”

Daniels looked at me seriously. “You have to stop that, Remy. We need you, but you need us, too. You can’t keep going like you’re going to save the world all by yourself, because you’re not, Remy. You just can’t.”

I gulped down the food and nodded. “I’ll try and do better.”

“You have no choice now. I’m going to be checking that all time until I’m certain it’s healed up okay.” He pointed to my abdomen.

“Is everybody mad that I held us up for so long?” I asked.

“No, there’s been a snowstorm,” Daniels said. “We probably wouldn’t have gone even if you were feeling okay. Plus, Serg needed the rest, too.”

“How is he?” I asked.

“Fine. Better than you, actually.”

“Have there been any zombies?” I asked.

“Nope. The snowstorm seems to have kept them at bay.” Daniels smiled at me. “Do you see that, Remy? You were out of commission for a few days, and the world didn’t end.”


It was another day before I was up moving around more like normal. It was weird when I finally got to explore the house and see how the boys had set it up like a home.

I had my own room, what I’m presumed used to be a little boy’s room. Boden shared the master room with Max and Stella. Daniels and Serg shared a small pink bedroom, but it only had one twin bed, so they took turns sleeping on it and the floor. Clark slept downstairs on the couch, and when I asked Daniels about him, he just shook his head and wouldn’t elaborate.

It had stopped snowing, and it appeared to be warming up. The several inches of snow were melting. When I stared out the window, the icicles were constantly dripping water, almost like it was raining.