by Connor Kreger
He stirs and rolls onto his back, eyes closed.
“Donna… What time is it?”
“I dunno. Four in the morning.”
He sighs. She throws her arm across his chest and moves her body next to his.
“Keith… did you hear that?”
She takes a deep breath and holds it.
“Huh? What baby?”
“What baby, Donna Jean.”
She releases her breath and gasps.
“I guess it stopped… but I could hear it crying just a second ago.”
“There’s no baby, Donna. You were dreaming.”
“No Keith, no, I really heard it. There was a baby crying… far off in the distance though, I could barely hear it. But there was definitely a baby crying.”
“Yes, I know…”
“It was just a dream, honey. Let’s go back to bed. Come here.”
Keith turns towards her and wraps her into his arms. She presses her body back against his, feeling his warmth on her back. Maybe it was a dream. She falls asleep.
“I heard it again this morning.”
Donna paces the room.
“We need to go look for him.”
Keith turns to her.
“Honey, there’s no one out there. You’re just having dreams. And besides, you know we can’t leave. We won’t make it five minutes out there.”
“But Keith, he’s out there! Can’t you hear him?”
Keith puts his hands on her shoulders.
“Donna, please calm down. You’re not being rational.”
“Keith! Didn’t you hear him moan!”
“There’s no one else alive out there, Donna! We’ve been over this a thousand times!”
The room is dark, silent. A figure rises; Donna getting out of bed. She doesn’t turn the light on. She moves through the subterranean shelter dreaming of sunshine, of babies and young men and people she knew. Where have the gone?
Keith told her not to worry about all of those people.
Donna reaches the exit – she climbs the ladder that leads to the porthole and turns it. She pushes it up and pulls herself through. It shuts behind her.
She sings this to herself as she steps out into nothing and slowly disintegrates.
“Walk me out in the morning dew, my honey.”
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