Nights, they had to hide. Day, they had to hide. Even when they had to go out for food and things they had to hide. Momma's gone, friends named all sorts of things. People are dying left and right these days.

If anyone asked him, a kid, what was happening, he'd have said, "The comicbooks are coming alive."

Men in grey rove the streets, leaving nothing but silhouettes in their wake. He goes out to see them, nights, when no one's awake to watch him, nights.

"The Reapers are real," he would've said.

He imagines the dragons are real too, until they turn the corner and he sees their tanks. He doesn't think any real monster could be more terrifying than that, that red flag image fluttering black-and-white.

"But I'm not scared," he'd have said. "Because, you know, that means Shiro is real too."

He kept waiting for the White Fox to drop out of the sky and save them all.

He couldn't imagine what was taking him so long.

That night, when he saw his dad peeking out under the curtain, he knew. He was looking outside at the night, and his body bent with an infinitely crushing sound.

"It's not going to be okay. Is it."

"I'm sorry," Dad said.

"It's okay."

And the kid went back to reading his comicbook.