"I won't," I said. And she turned and walked away. The generals and lower officers, in turn, followed.

I was alone in that room with the future. I'd only known vanishing past and pounding present. I didn't know what to do with myself. I started by counting my breaths and guessing how many I'd take in a minute. I tried thinking about tomorrow but couldn't. I could only picture a towering wall made of brain matter.

I thought, "Maybe I should've" and stalled again. I closed my eyes and thought about nothing, not knowing I'd sleep soon.

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Sarah draped a second blanket over her shoulders and cupped her hands over her mouth. She huffed on her fingers in an attempt to warm some feeling back into her frozen digits. It had only been three days since the power had been cut off, but already her apartment felt as if it had never been heated. When she had woken that morning, she had felt as if she were lying on a block of ice instead of a bed, and upon finally slipping from beneath her inadequate duvet, she had been shocked to see that frost had formed on...

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The sun this morning grows short thick shadows from the cobblestones. A sweaty head against the curb, red hatching at his temple, bleeds dark light onto the lane.

Did someone win last night?
No, the square is too clean.
But it's too late for so little noise.

Perhaps the town has emptied its contents into the universe, jettisoned the citizenry, the mutts and ferals, the tourists and the visitors.

Oh, the visitors.

Who were those visitors? Cheerless, I thought at first. But, no, I reconsidered, occupied.

I look back at the sweaty head, shake mine, and continue, hand in my...

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Mr. Marlin calls it the "war effort" though it's not a war. I see effort, but not of a thoughtful variety. Everyone involved is dressed in the same color. Any tool is a weapon. They'll be murdered, the whole lot of them.

"I told you this day would come," shouts Mr. Marlin. Imagine waiting on such a horrible day. It was only morning but the skies were growing dark. Cloudless and dark. He threw a croquet mallet at me.

I stared at it like it was a frozen dog.

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We sit in white rooms now, spartan furnishings, novel-sized windows. The tea is warm yet still melts the chocolate. Today they let us hear a bird song. The leap of its whistle reminded me of something that used to occur, when things used to occur.

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The dapper man picked up a penny and found a little hole. The hole was smaller than the penny, but larger than a dime. The man, dapper and penny-wise, bent down on dapper knees, head bowed, right eye squinting into dime-sized hole.

"Dimes, dimes, dimes! Mole men flipping dimes, muddy mason jars tight with dimes!"

He wigle

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When I reached end of the running trail in the woods, I ran into a gigantic zombie. Nearly wet my pants. Damn thing had to be seven feet tall.

I remembered that zombies bit skulls open and ate hot steaming brains. Made me wish I was wearing a football helmet. I started to run like hell in the other direcition.

"Wait," he hollered. "I'm thirsty. Got any ginger ale?"

"No. I only got a can of Pepsi."

"Good enough," he said. "Let me have it and I won't catch you and eat your brains."

I reached into my backpack and...

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