Enzo pulled me out into the hallway and helped me down to the floor. My hearing and sight was starting to return and I could hear Balia weeping in Hirsh's room.

What have I done?

Enzo had calmed down some and was wiping the blood off of my face. "You're bleeding again," he stated. "Like in the garden." He looked at me, his large eyes were hard to read. Was he angry? Scared? I couldn't bear to look at him any longer and I finally broke down into tears.

"Sorry," I sobbed. "I'm sorry."

"Why?" He squeezed my shoulders. "What happened to Hirsh, Zuza?" His voice was tight. Please don't cry.

I shook my head, trying to dispel what I had just witnessed. How could I explain what had happened? I just wanted to cower in the corner and fade away. I should have never come here. I should have never found Enzo outside the wall. Don't think that, I scolded myself. I don't mean that. But I couldn't deny that because of me, the creature was running loose in the community; a creature that sucked the life out of its host and moved like a ghost. I now knew the truth of the sickness and what it did to the communities, but who would believe me?

"Come with me." Enzo took my hands and pulled me up. I tried to resist, but felt too weak and exhausted to fight him. He lead me out of the house and towards the river where I had revealed what I once thought were my powers to him.

"Why are you taking me here?" I demanded in between sobs. "I don't want to be here!" I yanked my arm from out of his hand, but Enzo pulled me into a tight embrace. After what felt like forever, I managed to silence my cries and compose myself. After I had stopped crying, Enzo let go of me. I followed him over the river where we stood at the edge of the water.

"I didn't know him very long," Enzo said quietly, "But Hirsh was important to me..." he stuffed his hands into his pockets and nuzzled his face into his scarf. His eyes were full of sorrow. His eyes were always sad.


"Look, I know something is not right about any of this. I could hear you speaking in Hirsh's room- it was like you were frightened of something in the room with you... and then your ears-" He stopped and picked up a smooth rock at his feet. He fidgeted with it for a moment, then threw it into the water. "Please tell me what's going on."

I took in a deep breath. "You wouldn't believe me," I mumbled.

"You don't know that," Enzo said sternly. "You said your ears bled after seeing that creature in the garden-"

"-Yeah, but I just see things that aren't really there, remember? So why listen to the crazy girl?"

Enzo furrowed his brow. "No. Your reaction with the blood isn't normal."

I cringed at the word 'normal' and felt myself tense up. Enzo noticed my reaction and help up his hands defensively. "I didn't mean it like that! I'm not saying you're not normal..." His expression softened. "Look, Zuza. I'm not an idiot and you're not either. Whatever it entails, you saw the creature again, didn't you?"

I clenched my jaw, unsure of what to say to him. "... Would you believe me if I said I did?"

"There's no other explanation for your behavior, is there? Did it do something to Hirsh?"

Tears quickly rushed to the surface again. Why do we have to talk about this now? I nodded my head, afraid that I'd cry again if I spoke.

Enzo looked around like he was afraid someone one was spying on us. He stepped closer to me before whispering, "Did it kill him?"

I nodded again.


I swallowed the lump in my throat that threatened to bring back the tears. "The creature. It's the sickness."