Martin, mom, and dad were all Gone by then. She and Emilio were the only ones left of the Stephan and Androvich families.

They were sitting at the kitchen table, just the two of them, staring blankly at each other’s faces. They didn’t want to admit to themselves that what they were really looking for was the pale tinting of blue on lips, blackened veins creeping up necks.

But neither of them had ever showed any of the plague symptoms.

Heavy breathing and the pounding of feet on concrete outside the door bought them out of the fatigued haze they’d fallen into. Poised to run to the basement, Emilio looked at Annalise.

She sighed.

He turned around and drew back the curtain to the window facing out just the slightest bit. There was a girl outside, her veins perfectly normal and her lips a faint, washed-out pink. Her jeans had rips in the calf, and the knees of them were caked with dirt and mud. An open red flannel button-up shirt flapped in the chilly wind, and she had a t-shirt and a large, knitted scarf looped around her neck. 

Her dirty blonde hair was tied into a high ponytail, the locks swinging in the wind, way longer than strictly normal. As Emilio watched, she slowed from a run to a walk, and messily rolled the sleeves of her her plaid overshirt up, and fished a pebble out from her moccasins, tossing it back onto the concrete road.

They were simple black beaten-up ones, but they held together nicely, and despite the worn-out soles, seemed to be comfortable.

She had an almost bored look on her face as she walked down the street, casual as can be, autumn leaves swirling around her ankles.

He opened the door.

The girl stopped at the sound of creaking wood, turned around, and cautiously came towards Emilio, curiosity clearly winning over any wary feelings.. He silently stepped aside to let her in, and she carefully entered the house, still not saying a thing even as he locked the door behind her, sliding the deadbolts and chains back into place. 

Annalise appeared to want to protest for a moment, but then conceded at the sight of the barely-there look of desperation flitting around in the girl’s eyes, trapped even though she obviously wanted nothing more than to be rid of the emotion.

The teen was so silent, even standing there in the foyer, and Annalise cleared her throat noisily, shooting a look at Emilio.

The boy seemed to feel awkward, and he said, “I’m Emilio. What’s your name?”

Her answer was short and clipped. “Constance.”

The End

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