Diary of an Innocent
August 23, 2214
I was five when it started. We were eating dinner at the family table, and Meyer was telling us about his day at school. About how he aced a test everyone else failed. I had put a forkful of mashed potatoes in my mouth when the first bomb landed. The bomb was so powerful it shook our house like an earthquake as dust from the cracking ceiling fell and the shock shook me to my very core. I looked around the small round table at each member of my family. My mother’s emerald green eyes were wide with shock, bewildered as if she could not believe it was happening. My brother’s matching eyes were staring back at me before he was jerked from my view and seconds later, I too, was jerked from my chair. I looked up to see my father’s warm brown eyes focused on getting my shoes on my feet. Another explosion was heard and more cracks had formed on the foundation of the house. However, my father stayed focused on my shoes. When my father was finished he handed me a backpack and had me put it on. Everyone had one. We packed them a week beforehand when everyone heard the war was getting closer to home. My brother had grabbed my hand and I looked up at him. He gave me a small smile and we left. My family and I were barely ten feet out the door when another bomb sounded. This one threw rocks and debris from houses on us. It made my ears ring like a never-ending chime and my vision blur.
I felt someone pick me up and my eyes soon met with the same brown ones that had belonged to my dad. He began running with me in his arms, my mom and brother in front of us. I remember looking around when my dad had a hold of me, seeing the town I grew up in now in pieces.
I saw neighborhood dogs lying dead on what was once the streets, some scampered in freight looking for their owners who they would never find. I saw neighbors lying unmoving on the ground. The nice old lady that would bake me cookies every Saturday was lying next to her granddaughter, the wild one with the blond hair, both covered with dust and eerily still. I remember that even the birds weren’t out, singing their songs. Everything was silent after the last bombs were dropped.
That was the day when my life completely changed. I remember asking my mother about that day. I asked her why the war started, why they wanted to take away our home and why they took away our friends. I would ask her why we couldn’t go back home when they left, why we had to get water out of the stream and why this had to happen to us. That’s the only question that she answered. My mother me it happened to us because luck wasn’t on our side on this one. After that, I didn’t ask any more questions. I realized there was no going back home. No going back to everything I knew. Not ever, for everything that I had ever taken for granted was ripped away right from underneath me.
February 19, 2216
It was chaos when the Mortem broke out. Refugee camps were overtaken, loved ones were lost and those left alive lived in constant fear. The virus ultimately ended the war, or changed it, I would say. Instead of the war being between America and Afghanistan, it was now between the human race and the disease.
The virus took over the host’s body within seconds, turning your father into a rabid flesh eater and your aunt into a deceiving cannibal. They were like the zombies you would watch in movies and shows, only they were so much worse. Their skin would be a fire red with orange bubbles with decaying flesh in random spots on their body. Their blood was black and sleek. Their eyes were wild and crazy and a gruesome yellow. When they chased after you, they ran. Their bodies would twist and contour in ways you would never imagine, looking as if they had broken bones. When they couldn’t run, they would crawl. They would carry themselves on their hands and chase after you like they were possessed. They were smart, too. They would lie on the ground to convince you they were dead, only to attack you when you got too close. If they couldn’t trick you into believing they were dead, they’d have others waiting nearby to attack you. They’d have one be the “dead body” and have three or four close enough to see you approach. If you dismissed the body they would circle around you and attack when you would least expect it. Some would even follow their prey for days at a time, looking for the right moment to attack. They were called “Apates”, after their ability to deceive you. After the virus broke out, the world wasn’t safe anymore.
May 3, 2219
Being nine years old and watching your mom die to Apates is something you’d never forget. My family and I were walking across an old concrete bridge with a dark blue river running underneath. Two signs were placed at one end, one reading “East Cambridge” and pointed to where we had just come from while the other read “West Cambridge” pointing to the way we were going. My family and I had made it to the middle of the bridge when we heard a squeak come from one of the rusted cars behind us. I remember everyone froze. My brother grabbed my hand and held me close as my parents grabbed their weapons, a 9mm and a long silver knife, as my parents walked towards the sound. When my parents had made it to the closest car, I heard a snarl come from the other side of the bridge. I turned around and saw two Apates standing there, hunched over and ready to attack us.
“Hey dad?” My brother called out once he had noticed them too. My dad turned around at the sound of my brother’s voice and saw them. He crept back towards us as my mom stayed back as a guard. When my father made it to us he whispered something in my brother’s ear before my brother nodded and looked at me.
“John!” At the sound of my mom’s voice all our heads snapped to her direction. There, standing at the East side of the bridge we had just come from, were four more Apates. My mom walked back towards us, so everyone was huddled together, and we waited. There was nothing else we could do. We waited, and we waited, until they all broke out at once. Their bodies twisted at odd angles and their legs flew out behind them as if they were running with broken bones. My dad shot at the two coming from the West while my mom tried to get some of the ones coming from the East.
“Go, Meyer!” My dad yelled. My brother pulled my hand towards the West and broke out in a run, dragging me along with him. I ended up tripping and twisting my ankle, yet my brother tried to pull me still. When he got me up I had taken a step before I fell again. I let out a whimper as I felt the fire in my ankle rush up to my knee. My brother tried to help me up, but he was barely old or strong enough to do anything.
“John, help them!” I turned to see my mom push my dad towards us, however he had given my mother a firm shake of his head. There were two Apates lying at my parents feet as they tried to fight off the other two, however there were more coming behind them, running down the street in a craze.
“Go, John. Now.”
“But Mia-” They had just killed the two Apates that were near them, but the others were catching up fast.
“John. Now.” I watched as my father hesitated before he gave my mom a chaste kiss on her forehead before running over to me and my brother. In one quick motion my father picked me up and started running with my brother. I looked over my father’s shoulder and watched as my mom tried to fight them off. She slashed at one and killed it, but another came at her as soon as that one went down. The Apates started crowding my mom and overwhelming her so much they had backed her up to the edge of the bridge. My mom had known she was outnumbered by then. She started to look around frantically before her eyes met mine. Her green eyes seemed to calm when she realized it was me. Her red hair shone in the light, making it a fire as she gave me one last loving smile. I watched my mom fall over the edge, taking most of the Apates with her. I could remember the numbness when I watched her. That’s all I could remember. I didn’t feel any sadness, any pain. I was just numb.
June 30, 2219
Almost two months later my brother, dad, and I were camping for the night. My father had just put some squirrel he had killed on the fire for dinner. I was laying on my makeshift bed, a worn brown blanket, staring at the woods behind us. My brother was sitting on a nearby log while using the fire as a light to read his book that he had found once on one of our previous trips. The flames casted a golden glow on my brother’s face with the fire dancing in his forest green eyes, making his dirty blonde hair a golden crown. My father sat near the fire while he waited on the food to cook, keeping a watchful eye on it to ensure the food would not burn.
I don’t know how long I had been staring off in the distance, lost in my own thoughts about life and death and everything in between, when my dad had called us over.
“Come on Adira, you can get first choice.” My father said. I pushed myself up walking over to him and picked the smallest one, for I knew my brother and father needed more than me. After I sat back down, and my dad and brother got their share, we all sat in a comfortable silence. I hadn’t spoken much since my mother died, only speaking “yes” or “no” when deemed appropriate. Other things had changed too. In the short two months since my mother had passed. My brother had acted more grown up. Hunting in place of my dad and having sessions in secret where he taught himself how to use the various knives we had. My father’s gun had run out of bullets a few weeks prior when we ran into minor trouble.
My father was different, too. He kept a close eye on both of us, never let us separate. When he would hold my hand or place his hand on my shoulder, his touch was more gentle. His words were more gentle too. He talked slower and thought about what he’d say before he let the words come out of his mouth. I always thought my dad was being careful not to bring up my mom in fear one of us would break. When everyone had finished our meal, we said our “good-nights” and had settled down and went to bed.
I don’t know how long I had been asleep when I was woken by rustling beside me. I peeled one eye open, hoping it to be an animal scavenging in our supplies, but there were two grown men instead. I looked across the fire to see my dad sound asleep, then glanced at my brother to see him asleep as well. One of the men stepped near me and I let out a small gasp as he had stepped in my line of sight, startling me. He stopped, and I quickly closed my eyes to pretend to be asleep. It didn’t work for I was jerked up from my sleeping position with a squeal and was held by two strong arms. My frightened sound woke up my dad as he stirred in his sleep and raised up, only to be met with the barrel of a gun in his face. My dad glanced at my brother before looking at me then back to the man holding the gun.
“Please. Whatever you do, don’t hurt the kids.” My father pleaded. The man holding the gun looked over at the man holding me with a smirk before looking back at my dad.
“We weren’t. However, now that you mention it…. We might just take that there girl,” the gunman motioned to me with his free hand before going back to my dad. “You know, get her off your hands. They always cause the most trouble, little girls.” My dad’s eyes grew in fear as he looked at me. However, I was too focused on the man threatening not only my father’s life, but my own. His hair was long and oily, looking as if he hadn’t showered in weeks. His eyes were brown and cold, the opposite of what my dad’s looked like. He was tall and lanky with dirty and worn clothes.
The man that was holding me had short black hair and deep blue eyes. His breath smelled like vomit and his body odor was like a skunk. He was as tall as his partner; however, he was much more muscular. I had glanced at my father to see him and the gunman having a heated conversation that I didn’t care enough to hear before I glanced back at my brother. However, he wasn’t there. I looked around in a frantic before I caught a glimpse of my brother’s green eyes reflecting the fire in the brush next to me. We made eye contact and he nodded at me. I turned to my dad to see him looking at my brother before my dad nodded as well. I had let myself relax as much as possible, preparing myself for what was going to happen.
“Meyer!” I opened my eyes just in time to see my brother stab the man holding me in his shoulder. The man let out a cry as he released me as I ran over to my brother. I looked at my dad once again only to see the gunman aiming right at me and my brother. I held my breath not knowing what to do when suddenly my dad tackled the man to the ground. They tussled and rolled around on the ground while my brother pulled on my arm to get me to follow him. I resisted and watched as my dad and the gunman fought for control. The other was too busy trying to get the hot crimson blood to stop flowing down his arm and chest. I had watched as I heard the gunshot ring out through the dense space around us. I had watched as I saw my dad’s body jerk then fall limp. The gunman pushed my dad off him before he looked at me with cold eyes when I felt another jerk.
“Adira! Come on! We have to go!” I took one last glance at my father’s lifeless body before I turned back to my brother giving him a nod as I let him drag me through the forest. The only thing I remembered going through my head was this is what dad told us to do, this is what we planned, this is what we’re supposed to do.
October 30, 2227 (Present Day)
“Adira.” Meyer said, singing my name.
“Adira.” He said once again. I groaned and curled myself further in my old blanket.
“It’s too early,” I said. “I don’t even hear the birds.”
“That’s because your hearing sucks. They’re here and alive and loud.” I let out a sigh and sat up at Meyer’s remark. I rubbed at my eyes to get the sleep out of them before I let out a loud yawn and turned to my brother only to gasp in surprise.
“Are they real?” I asked, looking at the small bowl of strawberries. Something small that had become a rare luxury in the world.
“They are.” He smiled at me before I grabbed the small tin bowl and started eating the strawberries.
“Happy 18th, Adira.” I smiled at my brother as he sat beside me and gave me a kiss on my temple. I offered him one and we slowly ate the strawberries until the sun was above us and the bowl was empty.
“Oh! I almost forgot.” Meyer shuffled over to his bag and rummaged through it before he returned with a small tattered box. I gave my brother a questioning look as he told me to open it. Inside was a small silver pendant necklace with a rose engraved on the front.
“Open the pendant.” I looked down at the necklace and opened it. Inside was three pictures. One of dad, one of mom, and one of Meyer. The one of my dad was slightly faded and was an old picture of him, most likely taken before the war started. My mothers were old as well, and I recognized it from a picture my father took on my fifth birthday. The one of Meyer was an old school picture from when he was nine before the war started.
I gave Meyer a watery smile before pulling him into a hug. When I pulled away I looked at the picture once again. Meyer had grown up a lot since everything started. His face had a look that seemed to belong to a wise man, not a 21-year-old. Meyer’s emerald green eyes were fierce, however in the picture they shown with happiness as he smiled at the camera. His thin lips were now plump like mothers that when pulled back showed his perfect row of teeth. His scar above his right eye wasn’t in this picture, though. He had gotten the scar from doing cartwheels in a field one day in an attempt to cheer me up on father’s birthday last year. He ended up putting his hand in a hole and fell, cutting his face open on a nearby rock. I laughed at the memory and heard Meyer laughing next to me.
“I know what you’re laughing at, Adira. I still have flashbacks of that day.” I let out another laugh as I watched Meyer lie down.
“Thank you.” Meyer looked up at me with a soft smile before whispering a small,
If it wasn’t for him, I honestly don’t know where I would be. Meyer took care of me when mother and father passed and took over their role. We were both parentless, and I couldn’t live this life without him.
Sometimes I thought about what mine and Meyer’s lives would be like in another lifetime. One where we weren’t driven out by the war and we weren’t orphans. I like to believe that mom and dad would still be here. That they would have watched us grow up. I also like to believe that Meyer would be happy. He’d be in college and have a girlfriend and be living his life how he should. He was too good for this world.
“Adira, I know what you’re thinking,” I looked down at him and saw him peek one eye open.
“Quit thinking about all that nonsense and focus on now. Mom and dad are gone, yes, but you have me, and I’m not going anywhere.” Meyer gave me a smile and squeezed my hand before I laid down beside him. We stayed like that the whole day. He talked, and I listened. We reminisced on fond memories until the sun went down and the stars came up, calling it a day when I couldn’t keep my eyes open and decided to pack up and move tomorrow.
The next day, we had packed up to travel to our next destination, a small town a few miles out. It’s what Meyer and I have always done. We’re always moving. With our backpacks on and our shoes laced tight, we left.
Meyer and I had been walking for a couple hours when we stumbled upon a sign. It was rust covered and dirty and had the odd dings and bends in its surface. It read:
PUBLIC SAFETY NOTICE
IF YOU DISCOVER A DEAD BODY
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GIVE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
DO NOT APPROACH WITHIN 5 METERS
REPORT INCIDENT IMMEDIATELY
Meyer began to cross over the metal fence behind it before he turned to look at me.
“You comin’?” He asked, looking at me expectantly as I hesitated.
“Come one, Adira,” he let out a sigh before he held out his hand. “It’s not like we haven’t seen one before.”
I gave a wary nod before Meyer grabbed my hand and he helped me over the fence. Once we made it over, we started to walk. The grass was tall and lanky, reaching up to grasp my knees as it swayed in the light breeze. There was a sea of yellow and purple and pink all around us as we walked. I took a second to inhale the sweet air. It was sweet and floral and crisp and was filled with everything nice. I closed my eyes and stood there enjoying the breeze and the air.
Until I smelled it.
It smelled like burning flesh and rotting bodies. I stopped and grabbed Meyer’s hand, making him stop as well.
“What is it?” He asked.
“I can smell it.” I said. Meyer gave me a questioning glance before he, too, got a whiff.
“We need to go. Now.” Meyer pulled me by my hand as we walked, and we tried to get out of the fenced in area before they realized we were here.
We made it far enough where we could see the fence over the tall grass when we heard a grunt behind us. We turned around and saw three Apates wandering. I looked over at Meyer and saw him sush me before we continued walking. He pulled me along while I watched the Apates behind us, making sure they didn’t spot us.
“Adira!” I felt my body fall and a harsh jerk on my arm before looking up. Meyer stood above me clutching my hand to ensure I didn’t fall. Looking down, there was a pit underneath me with sharpened branches and logs inside, my foot brushing against them. I looked back up at my brother to see him looking away until he met my eyes looking panicked and frantic.
“We need to go.” I gave him a nod and helped him pull me out of the pit. When we made it to the top Meyer pulled me down into the tall grass. I looked at him questioningly.
“They heard me yell but they haven’t seen us yet. The grass is hiding us, but not for long. So, when I tell you to, I want you to run and not look back. Okay?”
“You’ll be right behind me, right?” I asked. I couldn’t leave him. Not like we did our parents.
“Right behind you, I promise.” I gave Meyer a nod and watched as he poked his head above the grass and cursed under his breath.
“You ready?” I shook my head no, but Meyer wasn’t having it. “Go!”
He gave me a push and I stumbled before I caught myself and started running. I could hear footsteps behind me and it caused me to push harder, not knowing if it was my brother or an Apate.
“Run, Adira!” I heard Meyer scream. He seemed more distant than the footsteps behind me, so I pushed harder. My legs were burning and my lungs were on fire and sweat was pouring down my face but I pushed on. I pushed on for my brother. I ran and ran until I got right up to the metal fence and I climbed it and landed on the other side. I turned around to see my brother running after me, however he stopped at the other side of the fence.
“Adira. Listen to me.” I ran up to him and through the fence he placed his hand on my shoulder.
“I need you to run, okay? Run all the way to our safe spot and I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I looked behind him and saw the three Apates running after him. They were about 100 yards out.
“I don’t want to leave you.” I whispered. “I don’t want to say goodbye like I did with mom and dad.” I had tears brimming my eyes as I looked into his fierce ones. They were 80 yards away now.
“You’re not saying goodbye, alright? Just a see you later.” I gave him a nod. 60 yards.
He pulled my head forward and gave me a kiss on my forehead.
“See you later, Adira.” 40 yards.
“See you later, Meyer.” My voice broke as I watched tears build in his eyes. 30 yards.
I gave Meyer one last look before he told me to go. 20 yards.
I turned around and ran again. I could feel the wind in my eyes causing them to burn and water as I forced them to stay open. The burning was back in my legs and my lungs were on fire once more. I had to make it to our safe spot as quick as I could, for him.
November 6, 2227
Meyer still hasn’t made it to our safe spot yet. It was the next stop we were going to. It’s been a week and to say it’s been hard is an understatement.
I can barely get any sleep, staying up in fear of someone attacking me or Apates finding me, to the hope of Meyer making it back while I’m asleep. I know it isn’t healthy to do this, but I’m worried and I’m scared. I’m scared that he won’t make it back and my biggest fear will come true. I’ll be alone. The only thing I’ve been able to catch is a couple small fish from a nearby river with a net Meyer once gave me. I can’t cook it properly either, it always ends up hard and burnt or too raw and chewy. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten sick yet.
The only water I had managed to get was water from the same river, but it was always dirty and I didn’t know how to clean it. Meyer usually did that for me.
I wish he’d hurry up and get here already.
For the first time since I made it here, I was tired by the time the moon arose in the sky and the stars came out to shine. I looked up at the stars, spotting simple ones Meyer once taught me, before closing my eyes.
“Happy birthday, Meyer,” and with that, I was asleep.
November 13, 2227
It’s been two weeks now since the field incident with Meyer. I’ve only slept twice, and I can feel my eyes sinking further into my skull and my body growing wearier. He shouldn’t be this long and all I can think about is worse case scenarios. But I tell myself to stop it, because Meyer wouldn’t leave me like that. He knows I can’t make it on my own, and he knows I need him. He wouldn’t do that, would he?
What worries me even more is I have to leave tomorrow. Thinking back to the conversation we had a while back, it caused me to get more scared.
“Don’t stay longer than two weeks. If you do, you risk the chance of being caught, even if I’m not there, okay?” Meyer looked at me and I nodded.
“But, you know I can’t make it, Meyer.” I whispered. He gave me a hard look before he shook his head.
“Don’t say that. You are possibly the strongest person I have ever met. Look at everything you’ve been through.”
“That’s only because I had you with me.” I whispered back. Meyer gave me a soft smile before he pulled me into a warm hug that melted all my worries away.
“I promise I’ll never leave you, Adira.” I pulled back from him and looked into his eyes before giving Meyer a soft smile, one that he gladly returned.
Now, I’m just going to have to hope Meyer’s still alive and he’ll find his way back to me. Like he always does.
I was lying down on my old blanket with my eyes closed while trying to fall asleep, when suddenly there was a rag over my mouth. I jerked my eyes open as the smell of strong chemicals overwhelmed me to be met with a pair of green eyes before my vision blurred and I felt nothing.
November 15, 2227
Waking up with a raging headache wasn’t something I was used to. It was pounding against my skull, feeling like I was over by an elephant. I tried to open my eyes, however a bright light was shining in my face and my vision was blurry. I could make out one or two figures, but I wasn’t quite sure that’s what they were. I couldn’t remember how I got here, or what happened, or how I got knocked out. I just remember green eyes.
I let out a groan as I reached my hand up to rub my head, but something was keeping my hands down. I looked down at my hand and blinked a couple times to clear my vision and saw my hand was strapped down beside me. I panicked and looked at my other hand to see it was strapped down as well. I started to fight against the restraints hoping to get free, but it was no use. I just caused the straps to dig into my wrist and I could feel the blood flowing from the stinging cuts.
“Miss Jones, please. Do not resist.” I looked up to see a woman with piercing blue eyes and plump lips with her black hair pulled back into a nice bun. She was dressed in a light blue button up with a black pencil skirt and a lab coat. Beside her there was a man with quiffed brown hair and brown eyes with thick rimmed glasses on. He was wearing a light blue button up as well with black pants and a white lab coat.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I’m Dr. Green. My partner and I, we’re part of the GLA, or Global Life Association, and we’re trying to find a way to cure the virus that has taken over the world.” She answered with a soft smile.
“Because the virus is taking over the human race, and right now there’s more infected than alive. We need the cure so we can put the balance of nature back in order.”
I looked at her skeptically before I responded.
“What does that have to do with me?”
“You’re one of, if not, the last immune.”
“What happened to the others?”
“Let’s just say they weren’t very…. reliable. So, we let them go.”
“Let them go or kill them.” I already knew the answer.
“Now, Miss Jones, no need to jump to conclusions.” I wasn’t jumping to conclusions. I could smell the slight rust of blood lingering in the air. Looking off to my right I could see blood stains on the ground and when I looked to my left I could see a figure lying on a table with a sheet over it.
“I’m not doing it.” I said looking back at Dr. Green.
“And why is that?” I could see the anger trying to break through her friendly facade.
“I’m not going to let you kill me because you think I’m disposable.”
“You’re going to die either way. You might as well do it for the right cause.”
“What cause? You’re just going to do it for your own benefit.”
Dr. Green walked up to me and slapped me, hard. The stinging was so bad it brought tears to my eyes as I turned back to face her. Her face was twisted with anger as she grabbed my face with her hand, her claws digging into my cheeks.
“I wouldn’t smart off to the people who has your life in their hands.” Dr. Green all but hissed. The venom in her voice lashed at my skin as she spoke.
I just growled at her and tried to jerk my free, but it was no use.
“Dawson, get her prepped.” She turned around and walked away. The guy standing with her, Dawson, walked over to the nearby table and grabbed a cotton swab before pouring some type of liquid on it and walking over to me. Dawson took the cotton swab and wiped my arm before taking needle and stuck it in the spot he just cleaned. I flinched at the slight sting as it went into my arm.
“This part might hurt a little.” Dawson said as he grabbed a drill and brought it close to my leg.
“Aren’t you going to put me to sleep?” Dawson chuckled before he rolled up my pant leg and wiped it with the cotton swab as well.
“Putting you to sleep has effects on the extraction.” He gave me a smile before he turned on the drill and plunged it into my knee. I screamed out in pain as I felt it ripping through my flesh and tearing into my bone. It made my body get hot and feel as if it was on fire. I gasped in pain as it continued until finally he stopped after what felt like hours, when it had only been minutes.
“If you excuse me, I have to go take this sample to Dr. Green.” He got up and walked off, taking a small white cup with him. Something reflected in my eye and looking down I saw a scalpel. It was close enough where it looked like I could grab it with some effort. I started to reach for it, but it was just out of my reach. I started reaching more and more not wanting to give up until my finger graced the edge of the table. I managed to get a hold of the table and wheeled it closer to me so I could grab the scalpel off it. I heard the door open and footsteps nearing me so I quickly grabbed the scalpel off the tray and pushed the cart away so it wasn’t obvious what I was doing, hiding the weapon behind my hand.
“Now, time for part two.”
While he started to set everything up once again I started to work at the strap on my wrist.
“Alright. You ready?”
I gave him a shake of my head. I was halfway through the strap.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked, trying to give myself some time.
“Because we can.” There was a pause.
“What really happened to the others.”
“Their bodies either couldn’t withstand it, or we killed them by being too…. rough.” I was almost through.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you’ll be dead soon, too.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” I was finally able to get my hand free and drove the scalpel into his eye. Dawson cried out in pain as he clutched the side of his face and blood poured through his fingers. I took that as my opportunity to cut the strap around my other hand and around my ankles. When I was free I took the opportunity to make a break for it and run. I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I knew I had to get out of there.
However, my plans were cut short as I had managed to make it only a few steps before I was knocked down to the ground and felt something inject into my neck. I looked up and saw Dr. Green.
“I don’t appreciate what you did, Miss Jones. I know you don’t have consequences in the outside world, but here, I’m afraid there are.”
I’ve been in here for God knows how long. After my previous antics I woke up in this room surrounded by Apates with no way to get out. It’s as if they dropped me through the ceiling. I tried to find a way out for the longest time, until I gave up and just sat in the middle of the room. The walls were tall and concrete, some had holes covered with a thick fence where I could see the Apates trying to break through. It was cold and loud and harsh and unbearable.
They were clawing everywhere, the Apates, and they wouldn’t stop. No matter how hard I tried to be quiet and make them think I wasn’t here, they persisted.
Their screams sounded like freight train horns and their nails were screaming little girls. They wouldn’t stop. I sat there for a while, sitting on the cold floor covering my ears as I tried to block them out. However, I could smell the rust and taste the metallic in my mouth, covering every tooth and taste bud. The smell of burning flesh and decaying bodies filled my nose to the point where it clouded my brain. They were driving me crazy.
I sat there for hours, rocking back and forth, my mouth drying up, my lips cracking and my butt going numb from sitting for so long. I’ve had enough. I got up and walked over to the nearest wall, an unbreakable hedge between me and the Apates, and just screamed. I screamed until my voice was raw and my throat was scratchy and sounded like sandpaper. I banged my fist on the wall letting myself go insane. I had to give up, I had to let go. I wasn’t strong enough. Meyer was wrong. They finally got what they wanted, they broke me, but I couldn’t let them know.
After I was done screaming, people came back into the room and took me. Turns out there was a door hidden in one of the walls. They tried to take me back into the lab, but I resisted as hard as I could. Until they showed me something.
The people had just laid me onto the table when they rolled something into my view. I stopped momentarily and looked at them as Dr. Green, walked over to me.
“Since we have had a difficult time convincing you that you’re doing the right thing, maybe this will help.” She motioned to the object that had a curtain over it and told someone to take it off. When they did, I was confused at what I was looking at until I finally realized it. The scar, the shaggy dirty blonde hair, the emerald green eyes.
“Now, I think this works, no?” She asked, turning to me with a sickening smile. “If you do this, Adira, you can save him. The cure we are working towards will help those who have already turned before they lose themselves completely.” There was a short pause before she spoke again. “So, what do you say, help him?” Dr. Green asked. I looked at her before I gave a defeated nod. She smiled as I let them strap me to the table again as I watched him. He had a crazed look in his eyes with those nasty yellow bubbles on his skin. He was jerking his body around, looking at every person in the room. I was so focused on Meyer that I didn’t realize they were preparing my skin. I didn’t hear them turn the drill on. But I did realize the explosion that left my ears ringing. It brought flashbacks of when I was little, the bombs being dropped all around me, the ringing in my ears like a never-ending chime. I noticed the explosion caused some metal to fly my way, and it also let Meyer loose. He was going rabid and was attacking the few workers that hadn’t escaped yet. I grabbed whatever I could to set myself free and found a sharp piece of metal and started sawing away. I noticed the people left for my brother to attack was getting lower and lower and my heart sped up at the realization that I could be next. This caused me to cut faster. Soon enough I got all my limbs free except for my right leg. It was trapped under a thick piece of concrete and my brother was coming right for me. I couldn’t kill him. He’s my brother. I could save him. Dr. Green said I could cure him. He kept getting closer and closer as I begged out to him.
“Meyer, please, listen to me. I know you’re still in there.” He came closer and closer until he was right on top of me and I was using the piece of metal I used to cut myself free to hold Meyer back. Tears were streaming down my face as I begged him again.
“Meyer please, I don’t want to do this. I know you’re in there and I know you can hear me. Please, you promised not to leave me.” I was sobbing as I felt the hot tears waterfall down my face. I knew he wasn’t in there, I knew he was gone. The realization made me sob harder as I knew what I was going to have to do. I stared into his eyes, hoping to see some sign he was still there, some hope that I could save him. Then I saw it. I saw the crazed look go away and the light burn in his eyes once again.
“Adira….” He whispered.
“Meyer…. Please don’t make me do this. Please, stay with me, I can help you.” I all but begged.
“Please, Adira, let me go.” I sobbed again before he leaned down and kissed me on my forehead.
“Let me go.” And just like that he was back to before. Clawing and chomping at me trying to get me. Sobbing, I put all my strength forward and rolled us over so we were on the ground and I plunged the piece of metal into Meyer’s chest. I watched as his eyes became dull and felt as his body became limp. I rolled over beside him and curled into myself and cried. I cried for losing the last family member I had. For losing my brother. For losing my other half. I cried for this war that started it all, for the scientists that kidnapped me. I don’t know how long I was crying until I remembered what got me to this place. I leaned up and saw the place in chaos. Men and women in black uniforms and carrying guns were walking all around the place, rounding the scientists into groups, when suddenly one was in front of me.
“State your name.” He said, his green eyes boring into mine. Just like Meyer, I thought.
“A-Adira Jones.” I stuttered, still shaken up from what happened before. The tears were still falling as I tried to wipe them away. He whispered something into his shoulder before he lowered his gun and gave me a kind smile, holding out his hand for me to take. When I grabbed the guys hand and looked in his eyes, I felt okay. I felt like I was going to be safe.
“We’ve been looking for you.” He said. I gave him a confused look as he still held my hand and led me off to outside. When we made it outside he walked up to a figure and whispered in their ear. Then walked back to me and placed his hand on the small of my back, as if to prepare me for what was going to happen. When the person turned around, piercing green eyes met mine. But they didn’t belong to my brother, they belonged to someone else.
Christian French is a freshman at Corbin High School.