Jerome’s breaths are harsh and rattling, dried blood is caked in his ears. His fingers and toes are black with necrotized tissue. Reynard cries out in despair. He does not see Fine in the baby’s room or the main room. He searches for her in the kitchen and larder, then the bedroom. Her crumpled body lay on the floor near the bed, like a discarded doll. He stared in horror at the body.
He does not move. Tears blight his vision. His breathing is labored; he sucks in air but it does not quench the burning in his chest. The Darkness whispers to him, but he cannot comprehend its words. Finally, he can loosen himself from the threshold and slowly approach her. He falls to his knees beside her, tears burning his cheeks. His hand recoils back at his first attempt to touch her. He does not want to confirm his greatest fears. He forces himself to see her face and rolls her from her side; wisps of hair laced in the lashes of her open unseeing eyes.
The putrid smell of her rotting flesh causes his stomach to upturn bile into his mouth. His screams and wails surely alerted the neighbors, though no one came to check on him. He left their flat. He curses the Darkness for not keeping them safe as it had him. It did not respond, but sits in the deep recesses of his mind waiting and knowing it would soon have him completely.

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