It's Christmas Day. The kids are opening their gifts, so excited to see what they got; An mp3 player for Kelsey, a movie for Kayla, a video game for Liam. Then they surprised me with a gift. I open the small box, and inside, I find a necklace... a locket. Inside the locket, they had pasted a picture of the four of us. It's not a fancy locket, but it's mine, from them. They thought enough about me to save their money and buy me this locket. It will forever hold its place in my heart. I go back to watching them open their gifts. A look on a child's face when they open a gift is almost magical. Their eyes light up, they get a smile on their face, it's one of the greatest things to feel the joy one feels knowing that somehow the gift they picked is exactly what the person had wanted.
When I woke up again, all was quiet. There was a strangeness to this quiet, it was almost forced. The kids had started to stir, and I think they sensed something wasn't right as well. They didn't make a sound as they got up out of bed. I quietly walked from the bedroom and was on my way to the kitchen when I heard Robin and Zandra talking. "What if he was bit too? We don't know if-" Robin was cut off by her mother in mid-sentance. "If Bry says he wasn't bit, he wasn't bit Robin. You know that." I was shocked, and a wave of nausea washed over me. Bit? He didn't say he was bit. Maybe that's what he was hiding. I knew there was something, I just hadn't been able to tell what it was directly. I walked into the kitchen. They were suprised to see me, and their voices were immediately quieted, as if they were embarrassed that they had been talking about something big going on. They exchanged nervous glances, knowing I had heard their conversation. Finally, I walked to the table. I sat down, found the pack of cigarettes I had found in the grocery store, and lit one, trying to remain calm. If anyone had to be calm right now, it was me. "Bry's been bit? How come you didn't tell me? I knew something was wrong. He didn't seem himself, he seemed totally out of character." I said, upset that they had not said anything to me about the situation. They both looked down. Then Zandra spoke. "We don't know for sure. He didn't really say much about what happened when Bob and he got attacked. He swears up and down he didn't get bit, but he's been acting distant since it happened." I replied "I figured at first that he was just depressed about what happened. But I know him, and I know that something else is wrong." There was a long pause in the conversation, everyone's minds were running with thoughts. Finally, I dared the question "Where is he?" His mother looked up at me, and I could tell she thought her son was infected. Her son, my husband, and my childrens' father. She sighed, and said in a scared voice "He's outside. He wanted to be alone." I wanted so much to tell her he would be alright, that her son would be amongst the living for many more years, but somehow in my heart I knew that wouldn't be the truth. I always spoke the truth, sometimes even to the disappointment of the person I was saying it to. This day, this horrible day, I did not utter a word of my opinion. I walked back to my bag, grabbed my Luger and loaded the clip into the gun. I walked hesitantly to the door, dreading what I might have to do...
Outside, it was mid-morning. There were actually birds singing! I thought that was strange, I hadn't really heard birds since the beginning of the outbreak. I figured they were smart and flew away somewhere out of this horrible place. I walked to the garage where I assumed Bry would be. There, I gasped. The man that stood in front of me did not even look like the man I married. His face was grey, and a sort of regret crossed his face when he saw me. Then, he spoke to me. "I'm so sorry." He looked at me with his steel eyes, and I knew. "When?" was all I asked. "When my dad and I went to get supplies." He answered. "Then how have you not turned yet?" I wondered aloud. "I'm not sure. It hurts. It really hurts. I can feel myself rotting. I don't want to be one of them, Dawn. I don't." His eyes started to tear up. "Show me. I want to see the bite." I demanded, not wanting to believe him. He pulled up his pant leg, and there it was... the bite. Around the wound his skin had started to fester, and it was growing necrotic. He had definitely been bitten. I let out a small sigh, pain and fear escaped me. "What do we do?" I asked softly. When he turned back to me, I knew the answer. "You have to do it Dawn. You have to, for the safety of the kids, of the rest of the family." A single tear dropped down my cheek. I knew he was right. "You had better go say good-byes. Not telling anyone was a very bad idea, something could have happened while we slept for Christ's sakes! Go in the house now, before it's too late. Tell your children good-bye. Tell them you love them Bry."
We were silent going into the house. I had my finger on the trigger the whole time Bry sat with the kids, telling them what had happened. They cried, and Kayla even violently shook. She was a Daddy's girl, this was going to traumatize her. He told them that he didn't want to see tears, that everything would be okay. Would it? I didn't know. All I knew is, the more time that passed, the bigger the chance that I had to shoot him in front of the kids. I cleared my throat, which he understood as a signal. He hugged them one last time, and went to sit at the table with his mother and sister. He told them exactly what had happened, showed them his wound. They knew what that meant, and said their good-byes. Bry and I went back outside and dug a grave for him. I couldn't just let him to rot, or be eaten after his death. Now, we were playing the waiting game.