The following is a novel of mine that I wasn't able to flesh out enough to be a full fledge story, so... Here you go. This is roughly 55 pages long on google docs, so.
Beep. Beep. Beep. “Shut up!” I yell. I swear one of these days I am going to dropkick that alarm clock. Beep. Beep. Beep. “God, go away!” I bury my face back into my pillow, realizing I’m trying to argue with my own alarm clock. I fumble around for a bit trying to turn the alarm clock off. I then sit up, and my nostrils are flooded with the wonderful smell of scrambled eggs and bacon. I then get up and shower, get dressed for work, and come out to the dining room. The dining room is the center part of our house, right next to the kitchen. And sure enough, my wife and kids are waiting. My 12 year old son, Anthony, is sitting down chugging some orange juice and bacon. It’s a good feeling to know that my whole day is going to be like this. After all, I deserve it.
“Do you like it?” My wife Gina asks me.
“I love it!” I say to her. I drink some coffee and take a bite of the ripe, crispy bacon.
“Wanted to make sure you had energy for your big day, today. It’s going to be a blast, I’m sure of it.” Gina beams. I smile back at her and take another sip of coffee.
Anthony asks what the celebration was for. “Look at the newspapers.” I said to him. He runs off to get the paper, and I call after him “Hurry up; you don’t want to miss the bus on the first day of school!”
“Fine.” he replies.
My five year old daughter, Lucy, walks outside. She rubs her eyes with her teddy bear, and looks up at me. She smiles at the table, showing her missing front tooth. “Daddy! Guess what?”
I kneel down to her. “What is it, Luc’?” She draws in a big breath, as if she’s about to give a speech. “I get to go cool today!” It’s adorable the way she says things.
“Luc’, it’s not called going cool. You’re going to School.” I drew out the ‘S’ in school.
“Ok!” She grabs Anthony’s orange juice cup and finishes it before galloping back to her room. “Tell Anteny to be nice!”
Anthony returns with the paper. “Dad, what exactly is cancer?”
I smile when I answer him. “Because of me, you won’t have to ever worry about that.”
That’s right. I developed a cure for cancer. It was a combined effort of both Steven Rodriguez and I. Steven was a co-worker of mine and helped me produce the gas. The two of us helped fundraise the research program and even invested money out of our own pockets to fund this program. It was an ambitious concept, but it worked. Instead of using radiation and chemotherapy, we used a gas native to that of a bug in southeast Africa. The gas is inhaled and dispersed through blood cells. The gas is delivered to damaged and infected cells. The interior of the cell is killed off and is rebuilt to produce more of the gas, meaning it only needs to be taken once, rather than a repeated cycle of inhaling such as medication that you have to take after x amount of days or hours. The gas isn’t a substitute for regular air, so the body filters out all excess gas through respiration. So far, over 100,000 liters of the gas has been dispersed throughout the world. And now every day I thank God for what I’ve been able to do. Because my little girl Lucy is already over 1,000 heartbeats past her expiration date.
I finish my food and give my wife a hug before grabbing the keys and getting into my car. Fall is coming early this year, and a stray leaf falls onto the windshield of the car. The season is still making the transition from summer, in terms of temperature, so I roll down the windows and let the cool breeze blow across my face. I drive through the city, which is now twice as busy as it used to be. And sure enough, most of the cars on the street are making their way down to the local drugstores, clinics, and doctors’ offices to get their vaccinations. I myself am heading down to the lab, but as a worker, not a customer. Nevertheless I have to wait in a long line of traffic. And when I get there, there isn’t a single place to park. Not even the handicapped spaces. I park in one of the reserved parking spaces in the back and take out my ID card. Nobody is allowed in any entrance but the front without an ID card. I swipe my card and enter. I see many of the co-workers looking up at me, smiling. One of them even cheers, although that might have been a family.
I make my way to the elevator and go down to the floor for cell disease research. I go over to the station for the cancer research, and take a vial of the gas out of a sealed lead case. I put the vial into a tube and press a button, sucking the contents of it dry and into a sterilized processing machine. This is a regulated procedure that I have to do for at least a month. It already made it passed the one month mark, meaning it was safe to distribute to the public. But still, I have to do it for another month due to the massive amount of people being vaccinated. It’s day 43, and so I run the test for what seems like the millionth time, check off that it’s a gaseous element. No duh. And check off that it kills the designated infected cells. The machine confirms this data. Everything is in shape except for side effects, which as I mentioned before, was only its ability to reproduce. There was one other side effect, but I decided to hold off research, the machine designated it as ‘low severity’ and ‘non-lethal.’ I phoned Steven, and told him to do it when he got to the lab on the night shift.
I left the station about an hour after that. Most of the time I was there was spent getting thank-you’s and such from bald people and their families. The other part was checking in with my boss to go home early, and washing my hands. I scanned my ID card and left the building. I got into my car and started driving home. I treated myself to an old CD album of mine. Yeah, remember CDs? It was a Green Day album. I put the CD into the player and bobbed my head to the music, singing along silently. It was very chilly, and I had to roll my windows back up. When I finally got home, my kids gave me the usual play-by-play of their days.
Lucy was first. “The first day of school was awa-some!” She said gleefully. “I’m much much much more smarter now!” Clearly. I thought to myself. “We were handed out a sheet of paper telling us how to behave. If we do well, we get a smiley face. If we do bad, I get a frowny face. Today I got a smiley face for using kind words and using kind hands.” She showed us her hands, as if we could see that they were kind. “Gee! That’s great, Lucy. How was your day, Anthony?”
Anthony wasn’t looking as chipper as he usually was, and I was anxious as to his explanation for that. “Not so good.” He said to me. “My teachers were such a drag! They had all given me homework on the first day, and I barely kept up with the lessons! There was this one teacher that just kept talking and talking and talking without pause! It was so annoying! And in my LAL class we were taught by Mrs. Austin and Mrs. Colucci. They were ok, but they said the weirdest things! School sucks!”
I was surprised at his outburst. I kept my mouth shut, because I knew from the look on her face that Gina was mad “Anthony Harold Simonson how dare you say that about a teacher!” She barked at him. Anthony looked sad, and put on that innocent little puppy dog face.
“Mom, it’s true! Even Jaco-”
Gina cut him off “I don’t give an ass about what Jacob said. If Jacob jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?”
Anthony was stuttering now. “No, that’s stupid!”
“Then why do you say what he says about the teacher?! He says more curses than he says normal words!”
I left the room, not wanting to hear Gina’s rant. I plopped myself down on the couch and flipped on the news. Some boring report on the harvest not being as good as last years. Blah. I flip over to AMC and watch an episode of The Walking Dead. I’m about halfway through the episode when Gina calls me over for dinner. Steak and mashed potatoes tonight. Anthony was excited.
“No veggies!?” He squealed with glee.
Gina threw it right back at him. “After what you just said to me you deserve to have broccoli shoved down your throat. Maybe that’ll teach you not to talk that way about other people.” That sure shut Anthony up, and I was glad for it. It was a nice and peaceful dinner, although I didn’t eat that much of the potatoes. Looks like the news was right. Oh well, at least the steak was good. Gina sure knows how to burn cows well.
After dinner, I went back and unpaused the episode of walking dead. When the episode ended, it said the season finale was up next, so I went to go get some popcorn when the phone rang. It was from the lab. I picked it up and heard Steven’s voice.
“Eric, I need you down at the labs.” I sighed into the receiver.
“Come on, Steven, I’m watching the Walking Dead finale.”
I’m pretty sure Steven put his hand to his face when he said this to me. “You come up with the worst excuses, Eric. This is important.” I sighed and put the phone down. I told Gina I was going out and that she had to put the kids to bed, and that I was going out to the lab.
I stepped outside and got into my car. When I finally arrived at the lab, the lights were off, and there were only 5 cars there excluding my own. I went through the front door and saw Steven waiting for me.
“Come on, follow me.” I followed him into the elevator and he pressed the button to go to the cell research floor.
“What is this all about, Steven?” He replied without hesitation.
“The side effect that you wanted me to look into.” I must have had a confused look on my face, because he began to explain. “The machine had read into it wrong. The gas is designed to kill off weak and infected cells, right?”
I nodded. “Well, it kills off cells that have been exposed to diseases before and have grown immune to it as well. It will destroy the immune system, causing every single cell to become weak and susceptible to diseases. They could die from the common cold.” We reached the research station, and we went over to the plant specimen. The leaves were beginning to become brown much sooner than they were supposed to. “I’ve run the tests a thousand times, Eric. The machine read the side effect off because it was treated like a vaccine that’s meant to kill the disease. It will kill off weaker organisms first. Single celled organisms will die within an hour of coming into contact with the gas. Plants and lesser animals will die off next, in about 3 to four days of being exposed to the gas. Humans will put up more of a fight. The immune system is its first line of defense but the easiest to break. After the immune system is gone, the other cells will begin to weaken. After about 3 days of the immune system being destroyed, the gas will begin to kill off other cells. Skin cells, sinuses, tissues, brain cells. Some of the side effects I’ve clocked in from the monkeys that we tested on are aggression, depression, and hallucinations. Death is expected within 6 days.”
At first the words didn’t register. My brain was being fed too much information to take in at once. But when I finally put it all together, I wanted to hit my face against the glass to wake myself up. I wanted to snap back into reality and be back on my couch watching the walking dead. To have this whole thing be a nightmare. No such thing came. I was stoic on the outside, but on the inside I was writhing. My brain was haywire. I wanted to ask him about a thousand questions. But I only asked one.
“Is there anything we can do to stop it?” Steven looked at me, and he sighed.
“There is one thing that we can do. But I don’t think that you’d like it.” I frankly didn’t care. “What is it?!” I spat out. Steven was reluctant to tell me, but he did. I was not comfortable to the idea proposed.
“Come clean with the truth and get the entire team working on a cure ASAP. We’ll have to tell the public. We don’t have to release our names, but I think everyone already knows that we were the ones who orchestrated this.” I didn’t want to, but I don’t think I had a choice. I couldn’t live with myself if I risked the lives of everybody, literally, EVERYBODY, just for my own stupid pride.
“Alright. Fine, we’ll do it.” I finally replied. Steven turned on a computer and logged into his account. I saw him beginning to write the email as the elevator doors closed in front of me.
You know that feeling you get when something good awaits you, but you have something to do before it? Each second is an eternity. But if something bad is about to happen, an hour goes by in one second? Yeah, that’s what I was feeling when I was driving home. I got home as soon as I started the car. I was at the door of my house before I got out of my car.
I had to listen to Gina crying as I told her the news, with Anthony tugging at my shirt, wanting for me to explain why she was crying. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Lucy in her purple pajamas, and I felt like crying too. And now I know that my life, and everybody else’s, would be changed forever. The day before I was greeted with whoops and hollers and extremely long thank-you’s. But tomorrow, people will scoff and spit at me when I say hello. And just like before, tomorrow came in a microsecond.
In 6 days, every living cell on Earth will be dead.
I have one chance.
I woke up tomorrow on the couch, still in my work clothes. I looked around, and the every single window in the house was shut and the blinds were closed. It didn’t help that I had countless nightmares last night about Lucy when she was staring at me. Her nose pressed against mine. It was a very disorienting feeling, and about then I noticed that she was prodding me with her finger. I had overslept. It was 8:00.
“Daddy. Why don’t I have to go to school today?” I told her that there was a flu going around. She still had her childhood innocence left in her, so she wasn’t sad or scared or even questioning of it. This was good for the most part. I left for work immediately after that.
The roads were barren, and the only one on it was me. I was the only one there. I was alone. The parking lot was as packed as it was on the vaccination days. This time, every single space, even the handicapped spaces, was filled. Even the spots out back were filled to an extent. I swiped my card and entered the building. To my surprise, there weren’t as many people in the building as I expected there to be. One of them shot a glare at me. They answered my question before I got the chance to ask it.
“They’re in the toxin lab. Fourth floor.” They looked away from me, and I went into the elevator. I pressed the button to go to the fourth floor, and saw a vast array of melodramatic workers. Although I knew that all of them meant it. They had to be fast. We only had a set amount of days. I too, had gotten to work. Out there I was an insult to mankind.
I remembered learning about World War 2 in eighth grade. Hitler killed 6 million people. I would kill 7 billion. Out there I was that. Out there I was a killer, but here I was an equal. I was just another person furiously working so that they can survive. Trying new remedies and learning from their inevitable failures. We learned more about the gas, studying its properties and identifying its weaknesses. It was susceptible to hot temperatures, but there wasn’t any way we could heat up the body so much to dissolve the gasses without killing the person in the process. I found out that the gas exhaled from the body floated around like air, and that breathing it in would infect you, even if you didn’t have the full transfusion. We called the HERC (Health Epidemic Rehabilitation Corporation), a corporation made for helping with disease crises. They were above us. They were the ones who can declare protocols. They can shut off tap water and dispense bottled water, declare martial law, and even temporarily legalize human experimentation, although that hadn’t been done before. They have helped make a vaccine for the Swine Flu, and were working on the new strand of the Chinese Bird Flu when this happened. We called them and told them to deliver gas masks to everyone within 10 kilometers of a pharmaceutical facility that performed the vaccinations. I was the one who had to call.
“We cannot help you. The senate unanimously voted to focus the entire nation’s effort on the cure. Every able bodied person with sufficient medical knowledge must be working on it. We don’t have time to deliver gas masks, even if we did, they wouldn’t do much go-” the phone is cut off by ringing. I look at the machine and see that it’s from my house. I end the call with the HERC operator and answer it. It’s Gina. She yells at me to get home. I ask why, but the phone line is cut off. I put down the phone and went down the elevator. I got into my car and drove as fast as I could back home. The plants were already starting to die.
The drive was long and tiring. Even though I was completely disregarding all of the speed limits, it was one of the longest drives I have ever taken. I had time to notice that a lot of the nearby plants and foliage were starting to turn brown. I passed by the barren streets, now with a very thin cloud of mist present. Not enough to block my vision, but it was ominous, and it sure didn’t help that the streets were all empty. When I finally did get home, I saw 5 people. One was Gina, with Anthony at her side, a cowering expression on his face. There were 2 men in biohazard suits. One was holding back Gina and the other… Had Lucy. I remember what Steven had said to me that one of the side effects was aggression. I didn’t care. They were going to take Lucy from us. I slammed on the breaks and got out of my car. I saw that there was an ambulance parked on the side of the road. They were dragging Lucy to it. I charged at the man and kicked him in the kneecap. He fell down and let go of Lucy. I was going to do the same with the second one, but Lucy ran up to me and hugged me, slowing me down some. I broke free of her grasp, but it was too late. The man was ready for me and pushed me down on the ground. I rolled over and saw the two dragging her back into the van. I saw Lucy give a kick to the injured man’s kneecap, the same one I kicked. I don’t know if it was on impulse or not, but the man slammed her head into the side of the head. I got up and charged at him. I took him by the neck and smashed his masked head against the window of the ambulance. The glass shattered and I grabbed a loose piece of it. I drove the piece into the man’s neck and tore it back out. By the time I had looked back to the other man, Lucy was already in the van. I could tell from her screams. I went to kill him the same way that I had done the other man, but it was too late. He had a tranquilizer with him. I didn’t get to see it, but I could tell from the sound of the gun and the way I felt a sudden urge to sleep right after that.
I woke up in the van some time later. I went to get up, but my arms were bound down to a chair. I took in my surroundings. It was a regular ambulance ER room. There were gas masks and biohazard suits hung up on racks. There was a bright fluorescent light shining on the roof. I had to look away from them. My vision adjusted sometime after that, and I didn’t have to squint anymore. I saw a man in a biohazard suit come out. It was about then I realized the ambulance had stopped moving. I was carried out in restraints, brought in next to Lucy. We approached a large building, and I felt myself drifting in between sleep and consciousness. I eventually did drift to sleep, and when I awoke, I found myself strapped down to an ER bed.
I tried to move, but my arms, legs, and head were all strapped down. I yelled, and someone replied to me. “We will be with you in a moment!” The voice sounded familiar. It might have been the biohazard guy. I immediately felt the same anger I did towards him as I did when they had tried to take Lucy. I cursed at him, yelling at him to tell me where my daughter was. The man finally came in, and I was able to look up enough to see his face….
It was. Same cocoa skin, same black hair and sideburns, although he had a facemask on. It took a minute for him to register what had happened. “Where is Lucy!?” I finally yelled. I didn’t care if it was Steven or President Obama; I wanted to know where she was. “They took her?” He asked sincerely. “Yes! They did! It was the girl they took in the same time they took in me!” He nodded and quickly logged in to a server. After some button clicking, he looked back to me. “She’s in the special treatment facility. I’ll take you over there.” He quickly took off my restraints and gave me a lab coat. “Why do I need this?” I asked him. “To make it look like you’re a doctor who’s actually supposed to be walking around here.” I understood. I put the coat on and followed him down the corridor. I could tell by the looks of the place we were at the state hospital, not our facility. We finally reached a section of the building labeled ‘Special Treatment Wing’. I followed him through and I heard a scream. It was Lucy, no doubt. I ran in the direction of the scream, but Steven stopped me. “Eric! Stop! It isn’t real! You’re hallucinating!” Even though I was pumped full of the gas, I wasn’t strong. My suit was brains, not brawn. So it was easy for him to stop me. I halted, and heard another scream. But I could tell Steven heard it too, because he jolted and looked in the direction of the noise. Steven looked at me with a worried expression on his face. “Eric, stop. Control yourself. If you go in there guns blazing you won’t have a single chance of making it out alive. You have to listen to me.” I didn’t want to, but he was right. I don’t know what the hell is going on in there. I went along with the plan, which he hadn’t told me yet. “We’re going to request a transfer from here to another room. We’ll get her out and sneak her out of the hospital. Ok?” I nodded. We entered the room and saw Lucy; she was strapped down to a table, arms and legs extended. She was writhing around. “Alright, I’ll go request a transfer.” I nodded again. I smiled, in the midst of a global catastrophe, I smiled. Because even if we all died, I would die with my family. I wou-
A set of hands came behind me and held my hands behind my back before I could react, I felt a sharp pain going into one of my arms, and I started losing consciousness again. But before I was knocked out, I heard Steven’s voice. “Alright, men. He’s ours now.”
Have you ever had that feeling when it seems like everything is going your way? When it seems like the best day of your life, and then everything is pulled out from underneath you and suddenly everything is against you faster than you can react? Well that’s the exact same feeling I had when I woke up strapped down to an examination table wearing nothing but my boxers after being backstabbed by one of my trusted friends. Yeah, crap like that happens a lot in the apocalypse. I looked up and saw Steven. He was smirking at me. “We only need one of you, Eric. So I’ll give you a choice. You can stay with us and have Lucy driven back home safely.” He paused to let it sink in. “Or you can go home and leave Lucy to us.” I didn’t hesitate when I responded. “Let me go, take Lucy.” Speaking of Lucy, I didn’t see her anywhere, even with full use of neck turning. Steven frowned. “You’re selfish, Eric. You know that?” I was stoic, not giving in. Steven paused, and finally replied. “Fine, you want to get out of here and leave her; Do it.” Steven undid my straps, and pointed over to my clothes. I put them on quickly. I turned around on my foot to open the door. I took one step forward, pivoted on one foot, and socked Steve in the temple, hard. From the way he fell to the ground, I could tell he was knocked out. I’m not selfish, Stevey. I’m smart I thought to myself. I looked around Steve’s waist and sure enough, found a tranquilizer gun. About then I saw some people come into the room, they had their guns raised. I fired at three of them. Two of them were hit and they dropped quickly. The third one missed and he took the opportunity to shoot at me. It tore across the back of my shirt but didn’t break any skin. I aimed and fired at his chest. He fell too, and I quickly grabbed up some more darts for the gun. I walked out of the room, taking a lab coat and mask so they couldn’t recognize me. I was expecting them to find out who I was quickly, but thankfully they didn’t. I was strolling through the hospital, trying to find a way out of it.
I then heard an alarm.
Men were rushing to the scene quickly, and the workers were in a tizzy. I used this opportunity to break into a sprint, since it didn’t look suspicious. I was looking around for a bit and found the exit. I was grabbed on the shoulders by someone. I turned around, and they were scolding me. “Get going! There’s an emergency you twit!” I then took a quick shot at his chest, and he dropped, nobody saw, and so I went to leave when I realized something was missing.
I sprinted back inside and rushed towards the wing as fast as I could. It was only a matter of time before I found her, I kept assuring myself. But it didn’t. The corridors looked all the same, and I didn’t have any time to waste. I was looking around everywhere, when I finally found the special cases wing. I entered and checked all the rooms. Most of which were empty, although I saw a sleeping middle aged woman in one room, and I had found a writhing and raging man in another, his mouth muzzled and his face red. I checked the second to last room and found Lucy. “Daddy!” she yelled. “I’m coming, Luc’!” I ran to her, and undid the belts holding her to the chair and lifted her up. I then locked the door. I had to do something. They would see me if I just walked out with her. And there were too many to gun down. I then looked around, and saw what I had needed.
I left the room, rolling the trash can away from the room. I was a janitor here, Jane Altow, or at least what the name tag said. I quickly found the exit, having remembered it somewhat. I rolled the trashbin outside and emptied the contents into my hands. Oh, looky here! It’s a girl! How did that get in there? Oh well. I walk with the ‘biological waste’ and put her into an ambulance. I start it up and began driving.
It was nighttime now, and the fog had somewhat intensified. The street lamps were supposed to be on, but they weren’t. Must have shut them off to conserve power for the labs. I checked ‘my’, or at least the one in my pocket, iPhone for the time (I couldn’t care less about texting and driving when literally nobody is outside of their house). It was the same day that Lucy was taken from us; which seemed about a billion years ago. I don’t know why, but I had suddenly gotten a bad feeling in my stomach. Like I had just ate something that I was allergic to. I had killed a man before because they were going to take my daughter, and I didn’t feel much guilt. I was just happy that I was one step further to stopping Lucy being taken. But now, I know Lucy is safe and I got out of this fiasco unharmed. But something was off. I got home after finding some familiar landmarks. I soon find my way home, and leave the ambulance with Lucy.
I go inside the house, and I hear Anthony. He’s crying. I walk through the entranceway with Lucy holding onto my hand. I quickly take the Janitors clothing off of me, and Lucy asks me why Anthony’s crying. I answer honestly. “I don’t know, Lucy. I don’t know.” I follow the source of the crying, and I am lead to the bathroom. As soon as I walk in, I see 3 things.
The first thing is a bloody knife. The second thing was Anthony, crying on the ground, and a bit of blood next to him. But the blood isn’t coming from Anthony. I follow the trail of blood up and near the bathtub. And I see the third thing. (Pause for dramatic effect when reading aloud)
She’s in the bathtub, her face is wet with drying tears. Her golden blonde hair has been stained a red-amber color from her own blood. There are fresh cuts on both of her wrists, and the tub is filled with her own blood, not enough to cover her bathrobe, which was now stained crimson. I don’t want Lucy to see this, but she already has. I tell her to leave the room, and Lucy asks me what happened to her mom. Her mother, who killed herself and died drenched in her own blood. “She’s… Sleeping.” I answer her. “NO SHE’S NOT! SHE’S DEAD, LUCY! AND THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN DO TO BRING HER BACK.” Lucy begins crying. Not because of what he said, but because the yelling scared her. Anthony was no idiot though. His childhood innocence was over, now. I feel sorry for him. Lucy at least has that blissful ignorance that nobody can ever gain again after you lose it. Anthony and I do not. I step inside and throw Anthony out of it. I look my wife Gina in the eyes. I know it’s a childish thing to do, but I cry. I don’t know how long I did it for. But all I know is that my wife is dead, my 9 year old son is no longer a child, and I cried myself to sleep next to the lifeless corpse of the person who used to be my wife.
In 5 days, every living cell on Earth will be dead.
I have one chance.
I don’t know when I woke up, but I was woke up by the telephone. I got up from the bathroom, hit the lock button, went outside, and closed the door so that it couldn’t be opened again. I looked at the caller ID. It was from Steven. I was interested in what he had to say about that catastrophe yesterday. I answered it. “What is it?” I answered without any distinct tone. Steven sighed into the receiver. “Alright, look. I know you’re pretty steaming about this whole thing, but I need to be blunt with you. The both of us know very well that Lucy was the first confirmed vaccination, and so we wanted to examine her for better results. Your wife didn’t comply, although I did not instruct them specifically to take her.” My heart sank Steven mentioned Gina. I didn’t bother explaining to him what happened. “Eric. You have lead the research group in developing this disaster, so you are a vital asset in finding the cure for it. I’ve paid a lot of money from my own pocket to make everybody forget about this. Just come to the lab today. I can understand if you want to stay home, but I implore you that you will be able to spend a lot more time with your family if you come.” I put the phone down. “Anthony, Lucy!” The two kids came out of their rooms and walked over to me. “Do you have to go to work today, Dad? Does anything matter anymore?” Anthony asked. I just shook my head. “Anthony. If this pulls through we can find a cure. We don’t have to all die. We can find a cure!” Anthony glared at me. “It won’t bring Mom back. Nothing will.” Lucy looked at Anthony. “Where is Mom?” she asked. “She’s fine, Lucy, just follow me to the car.” Anthony was about to protest, but I slapped my hand over his mouth and told him to be quiet. “You’re coming to work with me. I can’t leave you two alone. Especially after what happened yesterday. Anthony, I need you to be a big boy and help your little sister Lucy stay safe, got it?” He looked at me with an annoyed face. “Dad. Really? Big boy?” I looked at him. I can’t believe he was cracking wise in a situation like this. “Alright fine. Then be a mature male and help your little sister stay safe. Is that better?” Anthony grumbled as we went outside. “Daddy! What happened?!” Lucy yelled. I looked around, worried. “What do you mean, Lucy?” “There’s an amblance in the driveway! Somebody got a bad boo boo!” I sighed, relieved it wasn’t anything of importance. “It’s ambulance, Lucy. And don’t worry, nobody got hurt.” She said “Ok!” and got into the car. I picked up the newspaper. Honestly, I’m still surprised they’re still delivering it. The headline shocked me. “President taken ill by deadly cancer ‘cure.’” I briefly skimmed the article before starting up the car and leaving for the lab. The fog had intensified slightly, and it started to obscure my vision. The drive was slower this time, as I had to be careful with the fog. The plants were dying fast. I looked back to Anthony, and he looked a bit sick. His skin was lighter than usual and he looked nearly out of energy. He was also one of the early ones to be vaccinated. Lucy, on the other hand, being the very first to be vaccinated, was looking just as good as she was before this whole thing started. We got to the lab soon enough and I put Lucy and Anthony in the waiting room. I went to the research floor again and saw the array of people looking at me. There were significantly less people in the lab than before. I went to my station and began the routine of test-record-improve-test-record on the specimen. No interesting results. I was about to go back to get a beaker to try dead cell specimens on it, and when I stood up, a woman was standing in front of me. “Hi!” She said, cheerfully. “Since we only have a few more days left alive, I was wondering…” She trailed off. “What is it?” I asked. “Do you want to, maybe… Get out of here?” She blushed, and I immediately knew what she meant. “No.” I turned back to my work. “No! Wait! You see-” I cut her off “My wife killed herself because of this.” She stepped back. “Maybe-” I didn’t let her finish. “Get out of my face. The more time you waste is more time you could be spending trying to fix this! Now leave me alone!” She turned on her heel and left. I went to get the beaker and ran into Steven on the way. “Was that true?” He asked me. “No.” I lied. “I just wanted her away from me.” That part was half true. Steven shrugged and left. I returned to my station with the beaker. I put the sample in the beaker and turned on the burner. I left to go get a drink of water when I heard some noises coming from the waiting room. I took the stairs. The elevators were way too slow. When I arrived at the waiting room, Anthony was on the floor. His skin was nearly white, and there was a small puddle of blood near his lips. He was in a fetal position, and Lucy was next to him, shaking him. “Lucy, get away from him!” Lucy did as she was told. I lain Anthony down on the ground flat. I immediately went to the intercom and yelled into it. “THERE’S A DYING CHILD IN THE WAITING ROOM!”
There was a rush of footsteps coming from the stairwell, and a score of co-workers came down, some gasping, some with medical equipment. They all surrounded Anthony, one of them had a stretcher, and the group helped Anthony up onto it. I went to get Lucy, but she was gone. I went outside to the large entranceway. The office was large, so it was hard to spot her. However this also meant I could hear her footsteps a lot better. I followed the sound down some corridors and eventually found her down in a corner. “What’s wrong, Lucy?” I asked her in a calm and soothing voice. “Everyone is scaring me!” She yelled. She was spooked at her own voice, which was amplified to what sounded like a million times due to the largeness of the building. “Just calm down. This will be ok. It will all be over soon.” I tried reassuring her. She turned away from me, and she fought to be picked up. She did give in after a short time, and I brought her back up to the emergency room. I could tell which one it was because of the noises coming from inside. I entered, and I saw Anthony. He had already flatlined.
“Eric..” The voice belonged to Steven. “We want to perform an autopsy. You don’t have to stay here for it, but if you allow us to do it, we can gather valuable information on the disease. I nodded and left the room. Lucy was tugging at my shirt. “Daddy. Is Anteny going to be ok?” I looked down at her. She hadn’t shown any signs that Anthony did. No pale skin, nothing. She didn’t even look remotely tired. Come to think of it, neither did I. Now that I think of it, I remember some of the co-workers looking the way Anthony did, although some had looked completely fine. I then had an idea. I was going to head back inside when I heard the whirring of the saw. I then stepped away. Going back to my station. I turned the burner on and continued the droning process of trial and error. All I got was error.
When Steven came back to me with the results of the Autopsy, he told me that the blood had stopped flowing to the brain, and he said it had something to do with his heart not working. “I thought you said death is expected in six-” “Tops.” He cut me off. “What?” I asked him. “Tops. Six days is the longest possible life expectancy after being exposed. Your son was not so lucky.” I sighed. Then I remember my idea. “Do a blood type test of everybody working here. Start with the ones who are looking the sickest. Then go to the ones who look perfectly fine.” Steven nodded, and went off. I know my blood type, it was O positive. I forgot what Lucy’s was, so I wanted to run a test. “Luc’. We’re going to need a bit of blood from you, it’ll only take a second. Ok?” Lucy was nervous, but finally said “OK.” I took out a needle and drew a bit of blood from her leg. I went over to a scanner and emptied the contents of the needle into it. Lucy’s blood type was also O positive. Steven came back to me with some reports. “You’re son’s blood type was A negative.” Gina’s side. “Anybody else?” Steven nodded. “I ran a test on the girl you were talking to before. She was one of those who wasn’t looking so well.” Good. I thought. Still disgusted by her earlier proposal. “She registered AB.” I started to think. “The other sickly ones shown a trend. A, B, AB. There was one O, but I think they just had spring allergies. Other than that, those were the only types that had looked sick. B’s had the least noticeable symptoms, although they were a bit sick after looking for signs. A’s had the most noticeable symptoms, and AB shown moderate symptoms.” There was a burning question in my mind, though. “And the O’s?” I finally asked. “The O’s… They’re the lucky ones. They will be the most likely to survive the longest. They’ll be the ones to die in six days. Five days from now.” I nodded. I looked down at Lucy, and she was fumbling around with beakers, pouring water into another beaker and then that into the other beaker like some cliche mad scientist. I sighed, and went to hoist her up. “Where are we going now, Daddy?” I walked towards the waiting room. “We’re going home, Lucy.” I said, my voice devoid of all emotion. I was just about to leave the building when the waiting room television turned on. It was an emergency broadcast. What else. It was President Obama. He looked into the camera. Straight at it, his face looking troubled. “This crisis has brought our nation on the near brink of extinction.” He didn’t even stutter. Wow. “It is evident now that there may not be a cure within our reach after all, and despite our best efforts, there have already been over 10 million confirmed deaths in hospitals from the gas, and millions more not are not accounted for.” He paused. “But there is hope. Scientists at HERC Laboratories have developed a sophisticated method of sanitation. It can disperse of all the toxins in the body, and after the process is complete, they will be shipped off to a refugee camp, safe from the gasses. The station is located at the RCC football stadium.” The TV shut off, and I hear arguing going on. Before I have to get involved, I step outside the building with Lucy, going into my car. There is still a way to get out of this. The Stadium is only 50 miles away! I start up the car, and I see the gas tank is starting to run low. I decide to take a trip to a gas station and siphon some gasoline. It’s not like anybody is working there anymore. I put the car in drive and speed off towards the nearest gas station. I arrive at a Sunoco on the side of the highway. I get out of the car and begin siphoning fuel from the station. I look around and notice that theres a large truck near the convenience store. The gas had coated the tires, and they were green. One of them looked flat. After the tank was full I went inside of the convenience store. As soon as I entered I saw an old man, and there was a bunch of stuff on the floor. “What are you doing?” I ask him. “Looking for a roll of tape. My truck had a flat, and I have a pump, but nothing to patch the hole.” I nod to him and go to the water bottle containers and grab 20 of them, hauling them all into a plastic bag. I take another bag and load it up with food that wouldn’t go bad. A ton of beef jerky, some animal crackers for Lucy, and a few energy drinks. I looked over into the counter, and found something quite interesting. It was a taser. I pull it out from behind the counter and the trucker looks at me. “What’re you gonna do with that?” I start towards the door, answering the man as I do. “You never know.” I walk outside of the store and see that the hole in the tire had grown larger. Odd. I went into the car and started it up, putting the ‘groceries’ in the back of the car with Lucy, and the taser in the passenger seat. I left the gas station and began speeding down the highway.
After about 5 miles of driving, I heard a loud noise. Like a gunshot. Then gravity stopped working and I was in deep space, floating around weightlessly. Gravity suddenly starts working again and we are forced to the side of the car, and the airbags deploy. Lucy is nearly chained down to her carseat, but I only have a seatbelt, which strangles me from slamming into the side. I can’t see anything because of the airbag, but I can feel that I’m being pulled towards the roof. The screeching of metal following. The car suddenly slams to the stop and I push the airbags back in. I look around. Lucy is OK. She shakes her head, her hair an absolute mess. “I feel disney.” She says. Some of the water bottles have burst, though since everything was packaged, it wouldn’t ruin any of the food. I stand up on the car and open up the door facing the sky. I reach out and get out of the car. With all my might I jump and try to pull the car back onto it’s correct position. Lucy’s door doesn’t open, so I have to get her out from my side, as well as the food and taser. I then examine the car. It’s smashed up and the entire front of the car has been obliterated. The trunk however, is fine. I open it up and search it’s contents. A fishing pole. Useless. A pipe. Useless. And… Lucy’s backpack! I stuff all of the food into the backpack after some struggling, and I notice my face in her heart mirror. My nose is bleeding and swollen. It was probably because of the airbag. Lucy wasn’t hurt. I then put the backpack on and look at the car. It’s beyond totaled. I then begin to wonder to myself. What the hell made us crash? I then notice the tires. It too is ripped wide open. I thought it was the crash at first, until I noticed that the other tires were perfectly fine. I look at Lucy. “Daddy..” She giggles. “You were texting and driving, like the commercial!” I shake my head. “Luc’. Come on. We have to walk.” I begin walking down the road, and I look at my cracked watch. It’s 5:03. I remember leaving the office at about 4:48, so we’ve probably only gone about 7 or 10 miles. Which means we have about 40 miles to go. We can do this. I’m walking down the highway when I notice a small fire. I jog up to it and see a group of people huddling around it. “What’re you doing here?” One of them asks. There are 3 of them. They’re all about the same height, 5’11, about. One of them is pudgy and wearing a winter coat. The person next to him is slender, and has what looks like a spring jacket. The one talking to me looks pretty strong, and wearing a vest and a metallica shirt. “I’m just passing by. Where are you going?” The pudgy one looks at me and speaks. “The only place there is to go, buddy. We’re going to the stadium, same as you.” I nodded at them. I got close to the fire with Lucy to warm up. The fire also seemed to ease the effects of the gasses because I could see a lot better when we were near the fire. It was about then that I heard a siren.
I looked around, and so did the others. The siren got louder and louder, and then it finally came into view. It was an ambulance. It must have saw us because it stopped by the side of the road next to us. The driver rolled down the window. He had a gasmask on. “You boys headed to the stadium?” He asked under his mask, which muffled his voice. The response was a resounding “Yes!” from all of us. “We have room for four!” I smiled. The three men got inside of the ambulance while I picked Lucy up. I was about to enter when the driver said something to me. “We can only occupy 4 people! I suggest you leave the girl with us! We do routine checks throughout the roads! Another ambulance should come in about one hour! She’ll be safe!” I was reluctant to, but I nodded. I helped Lucy up into the ambulance, and I watched them close the door. “Daddy! Where am I going!?” The ambulance started to drive away. “Don’t worry, Luc’! I’ll be at the stadium in an hour! Stay safe!” The ambulance drove off, but I could still see her in the mists of the fog wave goodbye.
It was a long wait for the next ambulance, and I at one point thought that they wouldn’t come. But they did, thankfully. I hauled my stuff on and saw that the driver wasn’t lying. The ambulance was packed. about 15 people including me stood inside of the emptied out medical room. I managed, though. And before I knew it, I was at the stadium. I got off and saw a couple armed guards at the entrance. I was curious as to why, but I didn’t question it. I stepped inside the building and went up to the ticket booth labelled “Reception”. I waited in a short line and got up to the clerk. “I want to know where my daughter is. She has brown ha-” the clerk cut me off. “Listing’s tacked up on the wall to the right of me. You can find her section there. They’re small, though. So it shouldn’t be a hassle finding her after you get there. I looked on the listing, and this is what it read.
Harris Syed- Section A2
Joseph Pastor - Section C2
Conner Farrell - Section C2
Martina Campbell - Section A2
Daniel Porshnev - Section A1
Colten Rosseland - Section C1
Paul Ouda - RELOCATED
Lucy Simonsen - RELOCATED
I stared at my daughters name. What the heck did relocated mean? I went up to the clerk and asked her. “What does relocated mean?” She glanced up at me. “It means that the HERC moved her to a different location.” I glared at her. “Where?” I asked, in a fake calm voice. “Dunno. I think they’re going to the actual HERC facility. What for, I don’t know.” She responded. “Then take me there!” I implored. “Sorry, hun. Nobody leaves this place.” I was getting angry now. “This is my daughter we’re talking about!” She looked back down at the papers in front of her. “No, we’re not talking about your daughter. You are talking about your daughter. Now find an empty section and put your name on the listing. You’re holding up the line.” I started to step forward, but I was grabbed back. I then realized what the guards were for. They were there to keep us in.
“Sir. You cannot leave. We’re going to escort you to your section and we will get back to you with information about your daughter within a day.” They started to drag me out to the field. I wanted to protest, but I knew it wouldn’t do me any good. The stadium was large, and each yard line was full of cots. They were all broken up into sections, it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the people in them. The stadium lights were in an odd pattern. Half of the lights were off, while the other half was on. was lain down on a cot and my stuff was thrown to the side of it. The guards walked away. I must have laid there for about an hour, resting, and thinking about Lucy when a man came up to me. He was whispering. “Hey. I saw what happened at the reception desk. I can help you get out of here if you want.” I looked over at him. The man was about 5’10, and looked old. Maybe late 40’s. “How so?” I asked him. “I can get you out of the stadium. I’m a janitor here. I have the keys to some of the exits.” He said to me. Then, suddenly, the lights in the stadium shut off. “That! Right there. That’s how we get out.” I could now barely see his face in the dark. “They do this to save power. The gas blocks out the sun, so it’s nearly nighttime all the time. So in order to conserve power, they only put half the lights on at once. From 7 AM to 7 PM, they keep half of them on. During the night, they use the other half. But for about 2 minutes, they have to keep the lights out so it won’t short circuit the grid.” The lights came back on, and just like he said, the bottom half was on now instead of the top. “We use that time of darkness to leave the gates and get into the maintenance room. There’s a sewer access there. You can make your way through the sewers and away from the stadium.” he explained. “Name’s Hank, by the way.” “I’m Eric.” I replied. “So, Hank. Why are you helping me?” I saw his grin fade to a small frown. “Because my daughter died before she got to the stadium. Type A.” I looked at him, dumbfounded. “How do you know about the blood types?” I asked him. “People talk. I’m staff here, so I picked up on a conversation about life expectancy and blood types. I put two and two together, you know?” I shrugged to him. “So when do we get out of here?” I asked. Hank chuckled and replied “Crack ‘a dawn. Not like we have much time anyways.” I lie back down in the cot. “And the decontamination thing they told us about was a lie. They wanted us here for experiments. To do more of the blood type research. They also took a select group of people to the HERC facilities for ‘advanced testing’. One of those people being your daughter. Now get some rest. We have a big day tomorrow.” I smiled. Frankly, a little rest was just what I needed.
In 4 days, every living cell on Earth will be dead.
I have one chance.
I woke up to Hank shaking me awake. I looked at my watch, and it was 6:58. 2 minutes until we escaped. “C’mon. Let’s start heading out to the reception.” I stretched and starting following Hank. I was lead to the reception room, and the lights went off. I then casually walked with Hank out of the building. There were men in biohazard suits with assault rifles outside. One of them turned to us. “What are you doing out here?” He asked questioningly. “Getting supplies.” Another guard turned his head. “For what?” The second one asked. “Pancake day. It’s going to be a mess.” Hank replied. The guards shrugged us off and turned back. We made our way to the supply room. It was lit by a dim, dying light bulb. In the faint light I could see there was some useful stuff there. Hank gestured to a manhole, which he begun to open up. I took a flashlight, and some batteries. I put the batteries and flashlight in my pockets, now a bit worse for wear. Hank also handed me a pistol. “What for?” I asked. Hank just shrugged at me as I started to climb down the manhole. “You never know.”
I was climbing down the ladder, and was almost at the bottom. Hank was looking down at me, and I was about to give him a wink when the gun fell out of my hands and hit the ground below. A loud gunshot echoed throughout my ears. The tunnels made the shot sound a million times louder because of the acoustics, and sure enough, it drew the attention of the guards, who I heard rushing over here. I saw Hank was closing up the manhole when the guards got to him. One of them started to question him, and Hank made the wrong move to glance down at me. The guards looked at me, and they took a grenade from their belt and threw it down here. I hit the ground and picked up the gun, running. The grenade exploded, and I was thrown forwards, my arm feeling like it was just stabbed with a thousand needles. I hit the ground, stumbling to get up. My arm was still intact, but I could see it red and blistering. Skin was peeling and the flesh sagged off of my bone like goop. I winced at the mere sight of it. Then the pain hit me. It was the most agonizing thing that I’ve ever felt in my life, and I let out a small yelp. But that only made it worse. The guards knew that I was still alive. One of them dropped down here, and I fired about 5 bullets at him. One of them hit, because the guard dropped down. I then took in some of the surroundings. The sewer floor was dank and moldy, and there was a gate keeping people from falling in the disgusting sewer water, which the guard had slunk into. 3 more guards came in, and I realized the gun was supposed to last some time, because I only had one bullet left. I then had an idea. I aimed the gun at a grenade strapped to the guards belt and shot at it. The blast didn’t hit me, although I think a finger hit the back of my head. I started running down the sewers, and I then heard a noise. It sounded something like breaking an icicle in two. I then heard it again, still keeping the same pace that I did before. I was running like I never did before but the sounds made me run even faster. It didn’t register at first, but I then realized what was happening.
The sewer was caving in.
I was hurdling down the sewers like a crazed animal, trying only to survive. I saw a dim light shoot in and I knew that it had broken through the surface. Rocks were crumbling and I could hear the sounds of the stone chunks hitting the ground and the water. A rock nearly came in on me, but I kept on running. I was quicker than the rock. The sewers forked, although I didn’t have time to cross over to the other one, so I continued on the route that I was going on. I was much faster than the crumbling rocks, a few small pebbles hit me on the shoulder a couple of times, but nothing serious. Then, a large boulder came out of the ceiling, and I quickly stepped out of the way. I was faster than it. But what I wasn’t fast enough for was the rock that I had just walked into. It hit me square in the head and saw stars. I fell asleep quickly, and I was doubting I would ever wake up again.
But I did. I was confused and didn’t know which way was up. I started to move around, but I couldn’t. I then heard some voices. They were looking for me. I then crawled into a space that wasn’t covered in rocks, and I found myself in a cave, the cave-in blocking the way back. I heard one of the guards coming through, and I had an idea. As soon as I saw his head, I grabbed a hold of it, and gave it a quick snap. I pulled the body out and through the hole and began to strip the man of his uniform, putting it on. I took the body and shoved it into the river. I climbed back through the rock tunnel and made my way up to the surface. “Was he there?” One of the men says to me. “No.” I reply to him. “What happened to the janitor?” One of the guards gave me a questioning look. “Deported him to the HERC facilities.” I then glanced over at a truck nearby. “Can I use that to get to the facility? I need to get something.” The guard shook his head. “It’s too late. The tires were out in the chemicals too long. Split right open.” “But what about the ambulances?” The guard walked over to me. “They were covered in an airtight sealant. If you’re that desperate to go back to the facilities, I’ll get an ambulance for you.” The guard started walking over to a nearby ambulance that I hadn’t noticed before. He beckoned for me, and I climbed in the passenger seat. He looked over at me. “Hey. What’s your name?” I tried looking down using my eyes only, but I couldn’t read it upside down. “John.” I made up. “Then why does it say that you’re Albert Pail?” My heart started racing. He braked and I tried to pull the helmet off of him so he couldn’t turn his microphone on.
My former friend stared at me for a second and then exclaimed. “Eric?” I nodded to him and took off my mask. “How did you-” he began, but I cut him off. “The janitor. You also tried to obliterate me twice in the span of 30 seconds.” Steven looked at me like I was from another planet. “Get me to the facility. They took the janitor Hank there, and they also took my daughter.” He shook his head and pressed his foot down on the accelerator. I pressed back into the seat as we picked up speed. I then saw through the fog an array of half-cylinder army tents. There were guards around nearly every single corner. “Don’t be mad at me, Eric.” I was just about to ask why when he grabbed a hold of my throat and choked me unconscious.
I woke up in a prison cell. It was in the same half-cylinder tent as before. I then heard a voice. A small, young feminine voice. One that could only belong to my daughter.
And when I turned around, I saw Lucy. I was overjoyed to finally see her again, and I also saw Hank, although he was out cold. I tried to open the prison door, but it was no use. I then saw 3 armed guards come in. The middle one had his helmet off, and I saw that it was Steven.
“Long time no see, Eric.” He sneered. I looked over at Hank, who was beginning to wake up, he was still dazed from what the guards did to him, whatever that was. “Eric. I believe this is the end.” He put his other hand on his shotgun, aiming it at me. Steven then quickly aimed his gun at one of the guards’ head and fired, the other guard tried to shoot at him, but Steven beat him to it.
“What?” I asked, confused.
Steven simply grinned, walking over to a table, picking up a ring of keys. “No witnesses.” He said. Steven walked over to our cell and put the key in the keyhole of our cell, unlocking it and opening up the door. Hank was fully awake by now, and got up, scratching his head. Lucy looked up to me, grinning that adorable grin of hers.
“I knew you’d come back, daddy.”
“I promised you, Lucy. I promised.” I replied. We went outside of the tent, and I saw a familiar face. One that hated vegetables. One that was the first to know that Gina had died.
I ran straight for Anthony and squeeze him tight to my chest.
“What happened?! I thought you had died!” I began.
Lucy was also raving at the return of her brother. “Anteny! Anteny! Where were you?” Steven began to explain this to me. “Your son survived. The gas was recognized by his body as a lethal substance and had grown immune to it. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”
I let go of Anthony, and Steven spoke up. “Eric, there’s a boat that can take us out of the city. If we get away from the gas, we can grow immune to it and survive. There’s a way to pull through!”
“Then how do we do it?” I inquired.
“Military harbor.” He replied.
Steven began to jog, and so did I. But we were cut off by an announcement on a loudspeaker.
“This is President Barack Obama. It has come to my attention that a cure cannot be made. This disease is too complex for us to figure out before time runs out. The house and congress reluctantly decided to take severe measures. We are going to be dropping air-combusting bombs into the areas of infection. This will burn up the gas to prevent any further infection. The only downfall to this plan is the inevitable deaths of citizens. I advise all United States residents to go to an underground area. A tornado basement, or a bomb shelter. The strike will be in 30 minutes. We thank you for your cooperation.”
In 30 minutes, the United States will drop over 5,000 air-burning bombs over the country.
I had one chance.
The camp was in a frenzy after the message. People were running every which way, some cursing and jeering at the president’s very name. It was not a pleasant scene, but it was enough time for me and Steven to make our escape. But we didn’t get out undetected. One of them spotted us, even if we were in uniform, Lucy would have given us away. One of them yelled out for us and grabbed his gun. I just yanked Lucy to my chest where the bullets wouldn’t hit him. I quickly got into a jeep and started it up, gunning the gas and bursting out the front gates.
“Eric! No! The ti-”
But it was too late. I heard a loud pop and the jeep was sent flying. The windshield shattered and the top of it was torn open. We skidded across the hard pavement, Lucy crying and Anthony screaming. I think we hit a sign, because the car came to a sudden stop. I tried to pry the door open, but it couldn’t be done. I cut my hands badly, but I managed to get out of the car through the torn open roof. Steven climbed out with me, and we helped Lucy and Anthony out. I heard a bullet skid across the hull of the Jeep, and I started running. I heard ambulances chasing after us. Steven then skid to a stop and ran back to the Jeep.
“Steven! Get back here!” I yelled for him.
But then I saw what he was doing. He yanked the shotgun out of his seat and fired at the wheel of a passing ambulance, sending it into a tree and totaling it. I now noticed the effects of the gasses on the trees. It was only early september, but all the leaves were gone and the trees were starting to rot and decay. As such, it was no surprise that the ambulance tore the tree out of it’s roots. Another ambulance passed, and this time Steven knocked out the front tire, sending the ambulance to its side and flipping over. It toppled down on us and I was sure that we were dead when Steven fired at the other wheel. The small force of it was enough to send it down and barely avoid lobing our heads clean off. Steven began running, firing at the tires of the ambulance and sending each one out of the way. Then I heard a gunshot, and Steven dropped the gun. Someone had shot it out of his hand. I was still running, with Steven barely managing to keep up. Steven dived out of the way as the ambulance’s wheel hit the gun and struck the gunpowder inside, and the car went up in flames. Lucy was screaming through all of this.
“No more fireworks!! No more fireworks!! Anteny! Anteny! Make them go away!!” She wailed.
We then found ourselves facing a large wall, Steven had caught up to us by then, and he was wheezing. The wall was large, and covered in barbed wire.
“What is this?” I asked Steven.
Steven cursed under his breath as he answered me. “Military wall. It’s blocking the way to the docks.”
The docks were completely boxed in by the wall. No way in. Or at least, an easy way in. “I think there’s a way that we can get through, though.” Steven began to explain. “I have a grenade. I can use it to blow up the wall.” He took it out to show to us. Steven motioned for us to go back as he pulled the pin and placed it at the wall, running back.
And so we waited.
And then realized that it wasn’t going to blow. Steven carefully approached it, and tossed a rock at it. No results. He picked it up and checked if the pin was pulled, which it was. Steven then walked back and threw it at the wall. This time, there was a result.
The wall began to crumble, and I heard more sirens in the distance. Or maybe that was just the horrible ringing in my ears that resonated in my head like a cannon blast after the explosion. The wall had crumbled, I could tell, but my vision was still fuzzy. I couldn’t see anything clearly. Steven was mouthing words to me, which slowly began to have sound. I could then hear what he was saying.
“Eric! The bombs! We have to go! Now!”
I then saw it in the distance. It was an explosion, no louder than a gunshot, but it created a large ball of fire. It looked amazing. Steven then dragged me along, Lucy and Anthony following me.
“Anteny! Anteny! Is daddy ok?!” Lucy was yelling.
I couldn’t hear Anthony’s response over the explosion, now closer to where we were. This time, a glaring light shined in my eyes. It was like going into the heavens. But then I realized what it was. It was the sun. The bright light in the sky seemed a million times brighter than before, and the warmth of it quickly hit me. But it wasn’t as warm as the next explosion, now even closer to us. The wave of heat hit me in a wave, and I cringed. I got up on my own two feet and sprinted to the gates, practically dragging Lucy by her arms. Anthony was running along, barely keeping up. I then saw it. It was a speedboat. Enough to fit all of us. We could make it out of here. I leapt onto it and frantically began searching for the keys to it. I found them on the dashboard of the boat, and started it up. Steven was strapping Lucy in, and trying to calm her down. I went full speed ahead when I heard a yell over the roars of the explosions. “WAIT!”
I looked back and saw Hank. Hank, who saved my life. Hank who gave up his own so that we could survive. Hank, the person that I was about to leave to die. I couldn’t. I shifted the gears into reverse and throttled it. Hank leapt on and caught the backside of the boat, and I shifted the gears back. It was nearly too late. The explosions were now about 75 yards away from us, and were much more frequent. I was pushing so hard on the throttle that it nearly broke. We were flying on the water, the explosions now on our tail. I couldn’t hear anything over the fire, and the heat was making my skin go red, and I was sweating bullets. I thought it was the end of us, when it stopped.
All of a sudden, everything calmed down. The explosions were no more. Was I dead? I couldn’t be dead. I was staring at the ocean in front of me. I looked around, same boat as before. I then turned my head back to the mainland, and saw a sight I hadn’t seen in what seemed like ages. It was the sun. The warm, comforting hug of the suns rays. The cloud was no more, and the grey gas clouds were no more. We had made it. I hadn’t seen Steven this excited in years, maybe never. He patted me on the back and yelled “We made it!” I felt like yelling out too, but I didn’t. I then looked over to the kids, who were being nearly suffocated in Hank’s hands. I snapped my fingers at Hank, and he shook his head suddenly, letting go of the kids. It was if he just came out of some sort of shock, which actually was a likely possibility. Lucy and Anthony hugged me, and then I headed to the side of the boat. I heard Lucy speak.
“Anthony, is it over?” she asked.
“Yes it is, Luc’.” He replied. Then, his face lit up with excitement. “Hey Lucy.”
Lucy looked up at Anthony. “What?”
Anthony smiled and answered. “You can finally say my name.”