written by A.B. Channing
The Redding takes you if it knows your name. That's the rule that's kept Meg alive — or awake, rather — since the night the world went to hell. Nobody knows where the red stuff came from, but it acts like water, it's in the water, and it falls as rain every night. The people it captures drop like puppets with their strings cut. They're asleep, not dead, and you can wake them if you say their name again. But then they just try to kill you.
Meg and the other survivors she's befriended think they've found a stable equilibrium, six weeks after the catastrophe began. Nicknames become real names, and Meg knows she's getting better at identifying safe houses. Her crush discovers that Morse code, like writing, is a safe way to say a Sleeper's name. It's the night after learning it that Meg wakes up just as the nightly rain is starting.
Raindrops, as it turns out, can make dots and dashes, too. The Redding can talk.
And it's telling her to run.