Cole sat on the ground next to his dead roommate, staring down at his white, blood-splattered face. His eyes stared empty and open at the ceiling as if searching for an answer. An answer to the question that was overtaking Cole's mind. Why? He sat shaking, his hands covering his ears. All of the screams had died down but he kept his hands over his ears as if it would protect him from what had happened. The two boys were just playing video games together when Dodger suddenly heaved violently, blood spewing from his mouth and nose. He screamed in anguish, coughing to clear the blood and stomach acid from his throat. "Fuck! Help!" He had screamed, his eyes pleading Cole to do something, but Cole had frozen in fear, eyes wide as Dodger fell to the ground and completely crumpled, as if a giant had squashed him with a massive boot. And then he had died. The last tears slid from his eyes, clearing a trail across his bloodied cheek, before he grew still. Cole had merely slumped to the ground, too shocked to do anything. Finally, after an hour of hearing his neighbors screaming as they too suffered the same fate, he took his hands off of his ears. Car alarms were going off by the dozen, and it sounded as though every dog were being kicked over and over again. He sat still, absorbing the aftermath of this sudden confusing disaster. With a shaky hand he closed Dodger's eyes, trying not to vomit when he felt the slimy, cold texture of his skin. Slowly Cole moved to the window. Cars were on fire and smoking, having smashed into each other and flung their passengers head-first out of the car. The sickness had caused the crash, but the crash had ultimately caused the death. A pleasant one, compared to vomiting up their stomachs. For how much chaos had ensued, the world was surprisingly still. Probably due to the fact that everyone was dead. No one alive to scream and cry for help, no one alive to loot the nearby stores and take shelter against police. Cole slowly absorbed these facts, not yet questioning the fact that he was still alive. When he turned around he heard the familiar tune that played when you lose the video game, and the screen flashed with a bloody 'YOU DIED'. _______________________ Across town, Emma had both hands on the wheel and her foot heavy on the gas. She sped around the corners in her neighborhood, her eyes red and tearing. Systematically wiping them away when her eyesight got too blurry, she drove with a stiff upper lip but a wobbly, sniveling bottom one. Her blue eyes were surrounded by running mascara and her hair was crisping at the ends with blood. She had woken up and started her daily routine. Makeup, food, clothes, out the door. Having finished makeup peacefully in her room, she walked out to the kitchen for food, like always. Strangely, no one was there. Her dad usually always drank his coffee and read the paper while she ate. Frowning, Emma spotted a small package on the counter and quickly forgot about her missing father. Her face lit up with the joy of receiving material items. She skimmed the note before tossing it over her shoulder and snatching the pink box. The greedy girl tore it open to find a small, strange item inside. It was made of beautiful marble with a small 'E' in gold leafing on the handle. Emma grinned as she pushed the small button with her thumb and a sharp, shiny blade snapped out with a quiet 'fwip'. "Thank you, Daddy, thank you, thank you!" Emma called to wherever he was, her voice squealing with excitement. She had convinced her father to buy her a protective weapon for when she was walking alone. He suggested pepper spray, but she suggested a spring-loaded knife. Of course, she got her way. Emma pocketed the blade in her purple pajama pants before running down the long, high hallway of their expensive home. "Dad-" Emma slapped the door open and was rewarded with an ugly sight. Her parents lay in bed, the covers rumpled and stained with dark, dried blood. Her parents were clearly dead, their eyes dry and mouths hanging open. The next few minutes were filled with ear-piercing screeching and multiple calls to 911, which went unanswered. When she realized no one would help, Emma had but one choice. Her reject, dropout brother. And that's where she was headed now.