Aug 15, 2020

Speculative Teens & Young Adult Drama

I leaned forward eagerly, watching the rain soaked male lead edge towards the girl, his lips-

I frowned slightly, distracted from the ridiculous movie by even more ridiculous sounds. After a brief struggle to locate the remote, I switched off the show, shaken out of the romance by a strange set of noises.

I frowned again, wondering if I'd actually heard something, or my inherited paranoia had finally caused me to snap.

No, there it was again. I looked up at the ceiling and swore in annoyance. My little sister and her stupid friend, probably bullying someone on the internet.

I sighed, looking back at the television, but it seemed my nonexistent evening plans were disrupted. I had a building headache anyway, so probably better to end it here.

As I stuffed the last of the popcorn into my mouth and began the torturous ascent up the stairs, I heard giggles and more whispers and followed the sound to my sister's room.

Daria and Mackenzie glared at me as I walked in, their expressions identical.

"What are you doing? I asked uninterestedly, trying to catch my breath. Trolling preteens wasn't my idea of a fun time, but I had nothing better to do.

Daria scoffed, ready to turn me away but her metal studded friend giggled terrifyingly. "We're talking to a medium online."

I laughed out, more amused by Daria's annoyance than some internet scam. "Really? And what ghosts live here?"

"Don't be stupid," Daria snapped, tucking her hair back with two inch acrylic talons. "It's a clairvoyant internet program, it tells the future."

"I'm the stupid one?" I challenged, smirking. "Well, what wisdom have you gained?"

Mackenzie giggled again, in her fake, breathy voice. "It told us to cancel our summer plans, and other stuff."

Ignoring Daria's attempt to hit me, I sat down on the bed, curious. "Why?"

"Something bad is coming, apparently." Daria said, clicking on a crystallball on her phone. "It gives you three hints, and you have to figure it out."

I rolled my eyes. Cancel your summer plans wasn't a hint, it could apply to anyone. "Okay, what else?"

The crystallball spewed out a speech bubble. "A mask." Daria said, while Mackenize snapped her fingers. "Ooh, cancel your summer plans, focus on yourself?"

I stared at her incredulously, while Daria chose to take her seriously. "No stupid, this isn't a weekly horoscope, it's the future." Judging by the look on Mackenzie's face, world war three was about to start, so I chimed in.

"Maybe you'll get hit by a car and become ugly." I told Daria, dodging the pillow she threw at me. "We'll have to protect society from your hideousness."

Mackenzie laughed forcedly at that and jabbed at the crystallball icon. I leaned in too to see what it said.

"It's a bat, and one of those armadillo things." I stated, staring at the little cartoon animals on the screen.

"A pangolin!" Mackenzie pitched in, continuing to ramble about how endangered and trafficked they were.

I tapped at the icon again, but it remained dark. "Just sign in with a different account."

"Mack tried it on her phone already." Daria tugged her phone away from me and moved onto another app. "It only works once, like your brain."

I raised an eyebrow at that, only worked once my ass, my sister was just lazy as hell. "No summer plans, mask, bat and pangolin. What do you think it means?"

Daria smiled darkly, peering over her phone. "What are you so worried about? You never have summer plans."

Mackenzie decided that she hadn't embarrassed herself enough. "No summer plans, a face mask and endangered-"

"A face mask?" I repeated automatically, envisioning a woman with some avocado-honey facial. "What kind-"

"The hospital kind." Daria muttered over me, her nails tapping against the phone.

"Maybe all the bats will get sick." I stretched out, using an arm to prop up my head. "We won't be able to have summer plans 'cause they'll block the sun as they fly around madly."

Mackenzie and Daria exchanged looks, both of them now on their phones. I took a page from their books and searched up that combination of words. No summer plans, hospital masks, and bats and other endangered animals.

Sheer nonsense filled the page in 0.7 seconds. With some mentions of how your summer plans could revolve around bats and chasing them around the Amazon. I scrolled down aimlessly, bored out of my mind.

"You know, there's a disease outbreak in China." Mackenzie said conversationally. I focussed on her, waving a languid hand to prompt her on.

"Yeah," Mackenzie continued seriously. "Some respiratory issue? Sounds like a big deal."

"We're too far away." Daria told her curtly. "Don't panic yet."

I looked from her to Mackenzie, amused by Mackenzie's reddening face.

"They're saying it's a big deal-" Mackenzie shot back defensively. "Might even be a pandemic."

I was mildly interested in that, and made a mental note to look up any freaky symptoms or anything.

Daria narrowed her dark eyes at her, clearly itching to say something mean. "Mom and Dad just returned from Italy, they would have said if anything was going on." Daria nudged me with her leg. "Right?"

"They didn't say anything." I breathed out, trying to ignore the nausea I had felt for the last week. Maybe all the popcorn was a bad idea. Or, I remembered with a lurch, the fact that I had a chemistry exam tomorrow.

I got up, feeling lightheaded. "I have to go work."

Daria shrugged at me dismissively. "Go already, Mackenzie, look at this-"

I left the room, feeling exhausted as I messaged a friend, asking for some tips.

Unlike the rom-coms male lead, I had no good looks to coast on or any chance of skipping that test tomorrow and magically still ending up in Harvard or something.

Besides, telling mom and dad I felt sick would be useless, I'd just have to make up the test some other day.

I thanked my friend, seeing the list if topics, ending the message with 'see you tomorrow'.

I smiled slightly while going over some molecular shapes, remembering the strange clues the fake medium gave us. Instead of no summer plans, why not no school?

I coughed absently, turning the page. This stuff wasn't too bad, I might even pass the test.

I set my alarm for the morning, planning to spend the rest of the night cramming.

Maybe that strange disease in China would end up here, I smiled again, losing my train of thought and having to reread the section on bonding.

Feeling too curious to focus anymore I quickly consulted the internet. Not too bad right now..

Probably not, I mused disappointedly, it'll blow over soon.

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John Del rio
20:57 Apr 03, 2021

Well done. I like your take on the prompt. We are definitely in On the secret 😉that the people in the story do not know as of yet. I will continue to read your stories and hope to enjoy them as much as I do this one.


Moon Lion
01:19 Apr 04, 2021

Thank you so much for reading this one and commenting :)


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Sebastian Ehlke
14:57 Aug 22, 2020

I think you chose a good secret that the characters don't know, but we do, I immediately knew what it was without you having to spell it out. After that though you did kinda spell it out which took away from the story a little bit. Also, I think you should try to diversify the words that start your sentences. A lot of them started with "I", and I got tired of reading the same format for each sentence. That being said, I liked the story, good job!


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