I sit huddled against the wall, knees drawn up to my chest. Next to me, my battered old phone vibrates. It’s Marcy, my adult daughter. She has tried calling a few times today, but I haven’t answered. I don’t feel like talking yet. Besides, my hands are full—I’m gripping a pistol so tightly that my knuckles are beginning to turn white. I have never used a pistol before. I probably won’t need it, though. This is just a precaution. Just in case. Just until after… My eyes dart to my phone. It has stopped ringing. November 9th, 2019, the display reads. 11:09 PM. Just three more minutes, then it will all be over. That’s all. Just three minutes. I’m probably being childish. Right? After all, it’s been almost ten years. Ten years since that summer trip to Madrid with my late wife. Ten years since, while weaving through the crowd, I felt those strong fingers suddenly grab my wrist from behind, ice-cold despite the sweaty crowd and the summer heat. Ten years since I turned around and saw the little girl in that bright floral dress. Ten years since I looked into those glazed, dead eyes. Since horrible chills like I had never felt before washed over my body. Since that little girl opened her mouth and, in too-perfect English, whispered the words I would never forget. “November ninth,” she said sweetly. “Two thousand nineteen. Eleven-twelve PM. Everything ends.” The little girl disappeared into the crowd right after that. When I told my wife about it afterward, she laughed it off. There were plenty of crazies on the streets of Madrid, she said. And she was right. Plenty of crazies. In fact, if she were still alive, she would think I was the crazy one for sitting here, back to the wall with a pistol in my hands. And yet. Those eyes. Tearing my mind off the past, I look down at the phone again. 11:12 PM. My heart plummets. Immediately, my blood runs cold, and I can hear my pulse pounding in my head. This is ridiculous, I think, squeezing my eyes shut. Nothing’s going to happen. Nothing’s going to happen— Suddenly, the door opens. “Dad, are you—” I hear the gunshot before I register what is happening. I watch in horror as Marcy—my only daughter—drops silently to the ground, falling as if in slow motion. And I watch, frozen, as a beautiful red stain blossoms across her white shirt and pools on the tile floor. Her eyes stare up at me, accusing. I have seen them before. Those glazed, dead eyes. I am still sitting motionless on the floor when I hear the sirens outside.

Story is told by hartroc