She heard the scuttling sounds following so closely behind her. How could she not? She knew she was shedding infectious particles at an alarming rate. It was why she chose this particular route, to minimize her contact with others. This disease wasn’t supposed to be contagious, but that didn’t mean the strain she now carried was adhering to that particular rule.

Two of the creepers behind chittered at each other, and she was startled to realize she could understand them.

//Is it ready? Do we have food?//

//It still walks. We do not eat what walks.//

//So hungry.//

//Yes. But it still walks.//

She whirled on the creepers — the motion made her dizzy, and she nearly went to her knees — and they abruptly stopped. A couple even moved back a little, alarmed.

“You will have your feast, little ones. " Her throat was raw, bloody. “Soon enough, you will have your feast.” She turned back, continuing on. It was a moment before the creepers followed.

//It speaks.//

//To us.//

A pause.

//Do we have food?//

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