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Back then, the child did not understand a thing. He was dirty, restless, and aching; his face was covered with soot. Ever since the Bright Flash, he hadn't been allowed to leave the house, and it always seemed to be nighttime outside. He couldn't see much out the windows anyway; too much smoke and ash, like a black snow day. Nobody came to visit. It was just Mom, Dad, and him, and his Grandpa and Grandma. And now Grandpa and Grandma were gone.

His tummy groaned once more and he tugged at his mother's shirt, who looked about as dirty and tired and restless as he did. He asked her for some of what she was eating, but she sweetly denied him. Said this was food "for grown-ups," and she'd get him something to eat soon enough. This was another of so many things that the boy did not understand. He pouted, turned, and left to find something that may distract him.

The boy wandered the empty house, the locked windows and doors and the dreary corridors. There was no power, so he couldn't watch TV or play video games. He was tired of his action figures and board games. A sudden whiff caught his attention.

He stopped and veered back towards the shut basement door, a place where he did not dare venture, for the basement was sure to hold monsters or at least rats. But there was a weird smell coming out of there today. It was the most interesting thing to happen in months since the Flash, so he pushed the door once, twice, and the swollen wood yielded with a slow creak.

The stench was overwhelming inside; the boy covered his nose and reconsidered, but decided he wanted to get to the bottom of this while slowly descending the concrete steps, hollow sounds marking them.

He heard sounds down there, like some shuffling, something muffled. It was too dark. Fear gripped his heart, but by now he was transfixed. He groped the wall for a light switch, then suddenly remembered there was no electricity.

Fortunately, by this time he had been taught to use candles and lighters effectively. He found such instruments resting upon a nearby table and lit the candle, casting a small aura of light around him. He gazed at the table; it was covered in shears and blades.

As he turned towards the sound of the noise, he was suddenly taken aback and froze in place. It was Granny, leaning against the back wall. She was naked. Where her legs used to be only cauterized stumps remained. She gazed at him so sweetly, but he was barely registering the situation; it was too much for him.

She smiled in resignation.

"Run. You're next."