I wake up to the sounds of something crunching not too far from me. It startles me so much I sit up quickly in bed, half expecting to see Helen standing over me, breaking my leg with a devilish grin on her wrinkled face. To my relief, though, the sound is only my two cats munching away at their breakfast.
I fall back on my pillow and stare up at the ceiling, wondering if Helen and the others are gone. I strain to hear anything other than Shadow and Tiger eating, but it is completely quiet upstairs. I climb out of bed, stretching, and head into the bathroom to take a quick shower, wanting to wake up more. I let the warm water wash over me, wishing the water would wash away what I had experienced earlier, but I knew the nightmare will be with me for the rest of my life. I lower my head and close my eyes, allowing the tears I have been holding back to fall from my eyes. I wash my face, washing away the tears before I turn off the water and dry off. I dry my hair and stare in the mirror at my red-rimmed eyes for a moment before I get dressed in some clean clothes.
I look at my dirty pajamas that are piled on the bathroom floor from last night and decide I should burn the clothes after I find out what has happened up above. I hang up my towel and exit the bathroom and bedroom, but I freeze in the doorway. I glance over to where Tiger and Shadow continue to eat their food. “Tiger, Shadow, you two stay here,” I say to the cats, even though I know they are ignoring me for their food. “I am going to go upstairs and look around.” I look around to see if maybe I can spot Josh wandering around, but I see nothing. I shrug and head down the apartment’s hallway until I reach the stairs.
I stare up into the darkness, breathing hard, and feeling my heart thumping hard against my chest in fear. I shake myself out of my trance and slowly head up the stairs, sliding my shaking hand up the railing. I gently push the button at the top of the stairs and hold my breath as the door opens, letting light spill in on me from the sun. My coats lay in a heap on the floor and the closet door stands wide open.
I walk into my house, being careful as I walk over broken furniture and glass. I freeze when I look at the front door. Laying in front of the door is Helen and a few others, the ones I assume who helped Helen destroy my house. I creep closer to see if Helen and the others are asleep or if they were… dead.
Before I get close enough, another neighbor pops their head around the corner of my doorway. I jump backwards and scream when I see Aurthur looking in at me, looking a bit disheveled himself.
“Diana? Oh, thank goodness you’re alive!” Aurthur looks down at the pile at his feet. “They’re gone, all of them dead as soon as the sun had peeked over the horizon and hit them with its warm rays.” He looks back at me with a look mixed with terror and gratitude as he tells me what has happened. “The sun saved me.” His eyes water as a memory invades his mind. “Jessica, she… she found where I was hiding and tried to kill me because I refused to go outside with her.” Aurthur lowers his head as he mentions his girlfriend trying to murder him. “But the sun came up and once the light touched her, she screamed in agonizing pain and… and…”
I sigh sadly and carefully make my way over to the distraught man. I pull him into a tight hug, which he immediately accepts and hugs me back, appreciating the gesture. I pull back and look back at my destroyed home and the bodies. “What are we going to do now?” I ask, not really expecting an answer.
“Bury the bodies, clean up the mess, rebuild the broken homes, and get on with our lives,” Aurthur whispers next to me.
I look over at him and nod. “Anyone else from the neighborhood still alive?”
“Yes, a little less than half of the neighborhood at still alive. They are already digging the graves for those who didn’t make it.” Aurthur points behind him, where I can barely hear people talking and the sounds of digging. “I am making the rounds to find survivors. Michael and Hannah are going around behind me to see who has died and write down their names. For those we don’t know, we just put their anonymous. That’s what we will be putting on their markers too since we have no way of finding out who they were.”
I nod and head outside with Aurthur, my eyes growing wide when I see the number of bodies laying outside. I watch as my neighbors work together to pile up the bodies to be driven to the end of town, where I can barely see others already digging the graves in a large dirt lot. The dirt lot was supposed to be for more new homes to be built, but it seems that may not come to be after what has happened. I turn to see Hannah and Michael walking close to us with a pad of paper and several pens in hand, furiously writing things down. They enter my house, write down what they needed, and heads off to the next house. They both give me a quick, sad wave before they return to their task.
I follow Aurthur to the next house as well, waiting for a few of the men to join us. I say my solemn hellos, then help them carry the dead bodies to the pile to be shipped off to the new graveyard. I hope they don’t return to haunt the neighborhood. If they did, Josh will have some competition. I watch as Aurthur walks off in order to continue looking for survivors. I stop and watch my neighbors work side by side, only talking a bit about what happened. I glance at the sky and wonder if tonight the deadly moon will return to finish the rest of us off.