The glass which frames the portrait of Jesus reflects Sister Naomi's face. At 29, she's the only member of her order still in her twenties. She's younger and prettier than the other Sisters.
Yet something about her smooth, wide-eyed face seems more worn-out than theirs. It's the face of a coward and a liar, she knows, one who feels nothing when she looks at this God.
But she hides deep in the convent, like the coward that she is. She pretends to believe in Him, like the liar that she is.
Her gaze shifts to the tall candelabra beside her, with its sharp metallic prongs. She should fight.
An infidel like herself has no use reciting prayers in which she has no faith, sheltered by the sturdy walls of the church. She should fight those zombies, but she's afraid.
She remembers the girl she used to be; she would've leapt into the fray. She may have even forgotten to bring a weapon, wielding only her small hands. She would've been a fool.
She probably would have died. But she was brave. 'I used to be brave,' she thinks, mourning. Her fingers, bigger now but shakier, rub the mauve collar of her robes.
Mauve. Idly, her mind drifts to the history of the shade.
A teenage boy with lofty ambitions in 1856 tried to synthetically replicate the cure for malaria, and created a dye for bright purple instead.
It wouldn't be decades until scientists figured out that malaria, named such after an Italian phrase meaning 'bad air,' was caused by parasites, not just bad air.
It wouldn't be a century until scientists found a cure.
She thinks about the flies that swarmed the rotting bodies of the infected as they transformed into ravenous zombies.
She thinks and thinks, until she realizes: what if they aren't just flies? What if the virus doesn't spread through air or bite? What if they're parasites?
If she can't be brave, perhaps she can be smart.