It’s always dark and quiet where I live. I get plenty of food, but sometimes not enough sleep. At night, I can hear them trying to break down the door. My mom does her best to fight them off. It’s dark and we can’t see each other, but I can hear her soothing voice. Her voice is like a waterfall. She’s always comforting me.
She tells me stories about how the pandemic began. A virus escaped from a top-secret military laboratory in Russia, but my mom told me it wasn’t the virus that affected half of the population, turning them into monsters. It was the vaccine. Something went wrong during the development stage. It had bad sequencing which produced fatal side effects once it came in contact with human DNA.
The cure turned out to be worse than the disease. At least that’s what my mom told me. Thank God she never got the vaccine. She would have been a monster too. Every night I can hear them clawing at the bunker door. It’s always dark in the room. Even when the sun rises in the morning, it’s still dark for me. The only way I can tell when it’s daylight is when I don’t hear the monsters clawing at the door. They only come out at night. My mommy keeps telling me that we’ve been living in this room for a year.
She always tells me she’s gonna be here to protect me no matter what happens. I love hearing her voice through the darkness. Sometimes she plays music and I can hear her melodic voice humming along with the music. I love feeling her touch. The only time I can sleep is during the daytime. It’s peaceful. Everything is still and quiet. But when night time comes, I can hear the growling, the shrieking, and the violent clawing coming from behind the room’s door.
Mom tells me about dad. She tells me how handsome he was and that he was brave. The music she plays is his music. My daddy was a Grammy Award-winning artist. He could rap, sing, produce, and he could even play the guitar. My mom told me he was like John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Jonas Brothers, DaBaby, and Snoop Dogg all in one. He was a very talented musician.
She told me how he sang to me while playing his guitar. I don’t remember my dad singing to me, but he did. He sang a lullaby to me the night before he died. My mom told me we ran out of food and she and my dad had to leave the house at night to get some supplies. Those things were out there. I remember hearing my mom screaming out to my dad. My dad told my mom to run and to protect me. I remember my mom holding me while running out of the store. I heard gunfire and people screaming.
My mom wasn’t the only one running for her life. She had to leave my dad behind. I heard my dad telling her not to save him and to protect me. He stayed behind and fought with the monster that injured him after telling my mom to run. I heard my mom say that she would always love him. Hearing the revving of an engine scared me. She had to hold me while driving. She was crying and praying. When I heard gunfire coming from inside the car, I knew it was my mom shooting at the monsters through the driver’s side window.
The roaring engine vibrated my little body. I didn’t know what a Corvette was, but I remember hearing my mommy say— “Come on you fucking Corvette, go faster!”
My body moved from side to side as my mom shifted gears while twisting the steering wheel, trying to avoid crashing into cars in the store parking lot. I kept hearing her shooting out the window at the monsters that were chasing us and trying to jump on the car. One of them got inside the car and attacked my mom. I could tell that it used to be a woman. It jumped inside the car, crashing through the passenger window. My mom screamed at the monster. She tussled with the monster, and I remember how it snarled and grunted at her.
Three loud pops silenced the monster’s growling. The car came to a dead stop and my mom opened the passenger door, kicking the monster’s body out onto the road. I knew she had killed it with the gun dad gave her. It was quiet in the car. All I could hear was a guy rapping through the car’s radio. I thought it was my dad until I heard the announcer say— "New music from my man Post Malone." That night we made it back to the house. We still didn’t have enough food, but my mom got enough food that lasted for two days. My dad risked his life for us, and it gave my mom enough time to grab a bag of food before running out of the store.
The monster that injured my dad tried to grab my mom, but he distracted it. My mom tried to get the gun out of her purse, but it was too late. My dad kept telling her to run, and that’s what she did. She had to run with a bag of groceries while holding me.
The next day my mom left the house to go get more food. It was safe to leave in the daylight at that time. My mom cried the whole day. She sat in the car and cried. Through her tears, she tried to comfort me. I was blind, but I could feel her warm caress. I could feel her love even through the darkness.
“Mommy’s right here. She’s gonna keep you safe.” That’s what she whispered to me. It was so peaceful inside my mom’s car. Her sweet voice and her caress cradled me. I miss my daddy. I miss hearing his voice. When I fall asleep, I dream about the night he sang to me.
It’s just me and my mom now, trying to survive. We have enough food. I messed up when I told you that the monsters only come out at night. There’s a TV in the room and I heard on the news that the monsters had mutated and could adapt to the sunlight. So now me and my mom can’t leave the room at all. Sometimes there are quiet moments, and at other times I can hear clawing at the door during the daytime and at night.
My mom sings softly to me every time the monsters bang and claw on the bunker door. She sings to me and caresses me. She whispers her stories to me, telling me how she met my dad at a Grammy after-party. “Your dad was the most handsome guy I had ever seen.” That’s what she told me.
Since my mom used to be an actress, she told me how my dad starred in an action movie with her. In the movie, my mom played an assassin who falls in love with her target, and the target was my daddy. She told me how she enjoyed doing the kissing scenes with my daddy. Mom’s stories about my dad relaxed me. She also told me how Hollywood was like a paradise before the outbreak.
According to my mom, the city of Los Angeles was like heaven on earth, and then it became a war zone after the vaccine came out. The military deployed soldiers to protect the public from the infected. My mom described the monsters to me. They were tall, skinless, and mangled creatures. She told me when she first saw an infected man turn into one at a restaurant. She said that he coughed up blood and then his eyes turned pitch black. The bones in his body twisted, and he developed an arch in his spine. My mom told me that his skin became a translucent gray and the veins beneath his skin turned bright purple. She told me that the man looked like the Devil had invaded his body and that his human appearance disintegrated within seconds. My mom told me that the man’s skin and hair fell off his body. People were screaming and running out of the restaurant, including my mom and dad.
I’ll never forget what happened a few nights ago. My mom and I heard my dad’s voice come from behind the bunker door. It sounded like my dad. He called out to us, and my mom answered. I heard my mom say my dad’s name. She said, “Kevin, is that you, baby? I thought you were dead.”
My mom cried when my dad answered her. “I’m not dead, sweetie. Come on and let me in. I want to see you and our baby.” It sounded like my dad at first, but something was off about the voice. The voice had a gravelly edge to it. I wanted to believe that it was my papa. My mama wanted to believe too. We both knew that the monsters couldn’t talk. We thought they couldn’t talk, but we forgot about what they said on the news. They said that the monsters evolved. They could come out in the sunlight. So what would stop them from having the ability to talk or shape-shift?
I sensed something was wrong, and I wanted to warn my mom, but I couldn’t. She had opened the door, thinking it was my daddy. The monster stepped into the room and he must’ve looked just like my dad because I heard my mom gasp, and then I heard her hug him.
Things took a dark turn in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard my mom release a blood-curdling scream. The monster shoved my mom to the floor, and then it crawled on top of her. I heard it snorting and grunting. It started shrieking right over my mom’s face. I heard it dig its claws into my mom’s shoulder. She screamed and tried to fight back. I heard her kick the creature away. Knowing Taekwondo helped save my mom’s life, but it didn’t stop her from getting injured.
My mom is a fighter, and she slapped and kicked at the monster that was pretending to be my dad. It bit her leg, but she kept kicking it in the face. The only thing that saved us was the alarm on my mom’s phone. Something about the sound drove the monster crazy. I heard it stand up, and it grunted like a caveman at my mom while tearing through the room, slamming its head into the walls.
It finally stormed out of the room on its hands and feet, trying to run from my mom’s phone. When it ran past the bunker door, it damaged it. My mom shut the door and locked it. She knew the monster had bent the door’s frame when it ran out of the room. We were vulnerable. This happened a few nights ago.
I believe that the monster that pretended to be my dad was the same monster that killed my dad. It’s still dark for me. But my mom soothes me with her voice. I know she’s still injured from the attack. She tried to patch up her shoulder and her leg. At the moment, she’s sitting on the floor with her back against the wall. She has a shotgun laying beside her.
She’s singing a lullaby to me. It’s the same lullaby that my dad sang to me. The monster that attacked my mom came back. And now he’s ramming his body into the door. He brought others along with him. I can hear them grunting. “It’s gonna be okay, sweetheart. You hear me? Mommy is going to protect you.” My mom whispered that to me while rubbing on her belly. I love feeling her caress. She always tells me that I'm her smart little baby.
I hope my mom is right. She said everything will be okay. I know that my mommy’s name is Courtney, and I can't wait to see her pretty face. I’m a boy, and my mommy wants to name me, Sterling, which means little star. I’m sitting inside my mommy’s stomach waiting for my date of birth. My home is warm and dark. I get plenty of food. The last meal I had was a crab salad and a granola bar that my mommy ate. I can hear my mommy’s sweet voice, but I long to see her face. The monsters are trying to break the door down. I don't want them to hurt mommy. If mommy dies, then I'll die, and I won't get the chance to see her face. Mommy said she'll protect me. I love her. Only her voice can cure my fear.