There is a small mound of soil next to a cabin.
There is a single set of dirty bootprints leading into the cabin.
There is an emergency radio just inside the cabin, sitting on an empty supply crate.
There is a voice on the radio.
*“Listeners, although we’ve been your only choice for years, it’s been an honor to serve you. And now, at long last, we’ve had this good news. This incredible, wonderful news.”*
There is a woman in the cabin. She is thin and haggard, and there are tracks of recent tears showing through the smudges on her cheeks.
The trail of dirty bootprints end where she is standing, completely motionless, staring straight ahead with wide, unblinking eyes.
*“We’ve triple-checked, listeners, and our runners risked their lives to confirm it, so by God, I’m going to keep repeating it until I’m hoarse.”*
There is a shovel in the woman’s hand, caked with fresh soil.
There is an axe in her other hand, dripping dark blood.
*“It’s official—they’ve found a cure. The dead will stay dead, and the infected can be restored. My friends, my fellow survivors, we’ve outlived the nightmare.
Hope got us through, when hope was all there was."*
There is silence, as the radio’s charge runs out and the voice fades away, but the woman’s vacant eyes stay fixed toward the rear the cabin.
There, wrapped in wire like a chicken coop, with its wooden slats covered in gnawed bite marks, is a crib.
There is nothing in the crib.