The Boy sat amidst family, laughing and grinning. Holiday cheer settled upon the habitat. They tucked into dinner as the television sang. It always sang. It was a good day. Yet another, of many. Two parents. Siblings? Were there siblings? There were many. Tomorrow would be the day. They ate and joked. Drinks were had, except for the little ones. Tomorrow, The Boy would introduce them to the girl. His girl. He was excited. Tomorrow would be a new day. Another good one, of many. - Tomorrow came. They awoke. Their heads hurt. They were still hungry. Perhaps they had too much to drink. The children slept in. The Boy vomited. A parent, one of them, turned on the television. It blared and screamed. Emergency. Soldiers patrolled the halls. Quarantine order. The Boy tried the door. Locked, from outside. Barred? Sealed? - The hangover never left. One of the parents beheld their arms. Skin flaked, bruises throbbed. The headaches didn’t stop. Why didn’t they stop? Each gunshot outside hurt their heads. The television screamed, on and on. Nothing but static now, yet they dared not silence it. The little one was still asleep. The littlest one no longer breathed. The Boy looked into the mirror, and his teeth fell out one by one. - The Boy woke. They were gone. All of them. Their bodies lay hot in death. Not cold. Why not cold? The parents embraced in bed. They had been sick. He was sick too. And now he was deaf. Now he was mute. Now he was weak. The television screamed and no one heard. He curled up to die. - The Boy woke again. He screamed and screamed and screamed. His slick flesh writhed with each note. He screamed until his throat tore, and then screamed again when it grew back. They woke too; the once-parents, two now becoming one; the once-little-ones, now shambling heaps. Their meat writhed. They slammed their warped flesh into the doors, shattering skulls and bleeding over the metal. They no longer heard him. They were just shells. The Boy felt the pull too, trying to make him seek the source out. But the door held. He curled up, hoping to die. - He didn’t die. He sat in the dark. Thump. Thump. Thump. Crack. Thump. Thump. Thump. Crack. Over and over, the people he loved leaked their brains onto the cold floor. Where was The Girl? What was this? Blood filled the air. He slit his throat. He pierced his eye. He didn’t wake from the nightmare. - One day, the door opened. The Boy rushed forward. The beast stood there, its muscles spinning and weaving and leaking blood. It pushed past the flesh that he once loved. Their shoulders hung limply as it entered their once-home. It swatted the knife from his hand and beat him until he lay broken on the ground he had grown up on. Then it spoke. “You’re a lucky one.” It scooped him up and left the Husks to trail behind.