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Apr 24, 2021

Science Fiction

In the year 2021, a report from the International Energy Agency stated that carbon emissions were higher than they were pre-pandemic. They urged governments to switch to clean energy. Of course, money and greed got the best of everyone and that didn’t happen. In the year 2071, the world finally felt the fatal carbon footprint from everything. And the polar ice caps melted. They began to melt, rapidly, causing the sea levels to rise rapidly. Before we knew it, we lost islands like Japan, part of Australia, The Philippians Islands, The Hawaiian Islands, a few islands off the coast of South Korea, Cuba, Madagascar, New Zealand, The Galapagos Islands, and more. The government realized that they were losing people (money) so everyone was forced to switch to clean energy. But by this time, it was too late. The carbon footprint wasn’t a footprint anymore, and there wasn’t a way to reverse the effects. So one government thought that scientists should create a way where humans could live safely under water. I’m not quite sure which government it was, but it was brought up at the world council meeting after The Hawaiian Islands disappeared. At the world council, the idea was turned down. Not taking no for an answer, that government then ordered their country’s scientists to try and they did. The scientists worked hard, offering millions to billions of dollars (and also for those with student loans to have their student loans plate wiped clean) for volunteers for this experiments. The scientists’ warned volunteers that the experiments were quite safe, but they weren’t certain. Even with this news available to the public, millions of people volunteered. As you’ve probably guessed, the experiments went south. Nobody knows exactly what happened but those who volunteered to be experimented on turned into creatures. During the experiment, They didn’t show any signs or symptoms of anything and the scientists let every last one of them go home. Every. Last. Person. Went. Home. And ten days later, every last person who had been experimented on began to turn into Wall creatures and Skin creatures. The skin creatures are my “favorite”. It’s just a bunch of human flesh or animal flesh chasing you until it grabs you and swallow you whole. So imagine a huge blob of skin chasing you down the road and then out of nowhere, it opens its mouth where all you see is a mouth full of sharp, pointy teeth and death. That’s how my best friend Jacob died. He was “living” the dream of being chased by a blob of skin, until that blob of skin ate him whole. we watched him die via facebook live. He was streaming his whole death.

The great thing about all of this is that the creatures’ disease is contagious, highly contagious. With one touch, you can catch the disease, and the best part about it is that you won’t know you’re infected until the tenth day when you’re lying on your back having full body seizures turning into a wall creature or a skin creature. Then once you’ve turned, you just eat anyone or anything in sight. A lot of families have kept their distance from other people when everyone went into hiding. It’s a risky thing going into hiding with someone you don’t know. They could be infected. You don’t know.

The disease wiped out half that nations’ population in six months. It wiped out over half the world’s population in a year. It spread fast. This was the beginning of Red Phase Survival.

The ones, who aren’t affected, are hiding in their homes, bunkers, anything that’s secure like a brick house. The creatures can’t open doors, so we’re safe as long as we’re in a sturdy house. The creatures aren’t strong enough to run through brick walls. But still you have to be careful when hunting for food because the wall creatures like to hide in abandon houses, and they like to hind in the walls. Before you even know one’s there, you‘re dead. The whole wall would grab you and eat you whole before you even knew what hit you. That’s how my other best friend Jane died. During the beginning of the pandemic, she went exploring in a “cool” looking house and we watched as she died too. Jane didn’t live stream her death, just my little brother and I watched as a wall came to life and ate her. We became Olympic runners that day. We ran faster than we ever had in our entire lives.

I guess that’s enough catch up on our world today. People are hiding, scared not trusting other people because they could be infected by creatures that look like walls and blob of skins that run around eating survivors. It’s been a pretty grim century for our world if you ask me.

Diary, I bet you’re wondering who I am, aren’t you? My name is Kole with a K because I’m a girl. I’m eight years old and I have a mom, a dad, an older sister who’s sixteen, and older brother who’s eighteen and a younger brother who’s six. The year now is 2073 . . . I think. My family and I have been hiding in our brick house for the past two years since the pandemic began. I think it’s been two years . . . my math could be off. I lost count when daddy board up the windows of our house and now we have to use fire as light. I haven’t seen the sun in a long time. I haven’t felt the ocean’s breeze in centuries it feels like. And I’m tired of eating beans .

“I’m not asking for much, just for him to call me every day, ask me to marry him and then live happily ever after with me!” That’s my older sister, Kaleen. She’s whining about not being married to her boyfriend Darrel, whose she’s been dating for two months now. They met on a supply run in an abandoned grocery store near our house. Apparently, Darrel lives in the neighborhood next to ours and it only took the world coming to an end for them to finally meet. “I understand honey, but you can’t use the radio’s battery up calling your boyfriend every day.” That’s my mom. She’s a very patient woman. Taught us everything we know about surviving during this pandemic. She used to work on an animal farm when she was twenty-three. So her surviving skills are pretty useful. “Honey, have you seen my other boot?” That’s my dad. He’s getting ready to go on another supply run. ‘It’s best to go on supply runs during the day when we can see our enemy.’ That’s his motto. My dad’s a pretty awesome dad. He’s like the dad version of Jackie Chain, just without the martial arts, karate, awesome back flips, and the awesome fighting . . . like I said . . . the awesome dad version of Jackie Chain, but he’s still awesome. We usually go on supply runs as a family. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a dumb idea.” But my family believes that if one of us dies, we all have to die. No one will be left behind to die from a broken heart. Insert eye roll here. That’s my mom’s saying. She always claims she can’t live life without us, but yells at us if we leave a candle burning in an empty room. “Okay gang, are y’all ready?” my dad asked with a hand in the door knob. He inhald, held tightly to the door, stared each and every one of us in the eyes, then took his hand off the door and said, “We have enough food, and dying from starvation isn’t the worst thing.” And that’s pretty much how our family supply runs goes. Later tonight when our “wimpy” yet “survivalist” parents are asleep, my older brother and sister will sneak out and get food. They will come back and our parents will wake up to “food magically appearing out of nowhere. Hooray! We get to live to see another week.” In ten years, that’ll be my little brother and I going on supply runs with the survival lessons our parents gave us . . . when they’re too scared to use it themselves . . . oh the irony.

“OW!” My oldest brother Damon yelled. “What happened?” our parents ran to his bedroom. “I fell. I think I broke my leg.” Damon was bent over rocking back and forth on this side holding his leg and whining. Our father entered our brother’s room and closed the door behind him. Our mother instructed the rest of us to go sit in the living room and to stay there.

My sister leaned over to us and whispered, “You have to come with me on the supply run tonight. Damon can’t do it and I can’t carry everything alone.” My eyes widen. Did she find crack and decided to smoke it?! “Have you lost your ever loving mind?” I shouted in a whispered. Our mother was in the kitchen rationing out the last little bit of food we had left. I was trying to keep my voice low, but loud enough so my sister could hear how crazy she sounded. An eight year old on a supply run. “I’ve seen younger kids on these supply runs. You do what you have to do to survive.”

“Yeah” I started, “but dad isn’t all the way wrong when he said starving isn’t the worst thing. I’m not trying to die like Jane did!” my sister rolled her eyes. “You won’t. Not when you’re with me and we follow mom’s and dad’s instructions.” I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk myself out of this one. I rolled my eyes and said fine.

That night, my older sister and I snuck out of our house’s bathroom window and into the world. The sun was setting, so we had exactly one hour to grab supplies before we have broken the first survival skill our parents taught us “Never go out after dark.”

Kaleen raised her pointer finger up to her lips. She was telling me to keep quiet. I nodded. I guess out here when you’re being eaten alive, you have to stay silent, so other nearby creatures won’t take your dying screams as a dinner bell.

We jogged away from the safety of our home and into the street. Even though the backpacks on our backs were tighten to make running easier, I still found it hard to run.

We came to the edge of our neighborhood; Kaleen squatted near a stop sign. She pointed at a homemade map. The map pretty much said where to go and what neighborhoods to avoid. Apparently, the neighborhood her boyfriend lives in had a huge red X over it warning not to ever go there. I wanted to ask her why her boyfriend’s neighborhood had a red X over it. But I thought against speaking. Again, I don’t want to end up like Jane. Bad way to go.

We started jogging again until we reached a gas station. We passed the gas pumps that were covered in vines and entered the store. Kaleen slowly opened and closed the door behind us, making sure not to make the bell that normally told the person working there customers were in the store ring. “Stay away from the walls,” Kaleen whispered. “Wall creatures can’t turn into glass, so it’s okay to stand near the glass windows, but don’t go in the bathrooms or where there’s a wall. Also, keep your eyes open for skin creatures.” Kaleen’s voice was so low; I barely hear her. I just nodded my head and went where she pointed for me to go. Without hesitation, I began packing my backpack with any and everything I thought would help our family: small first aid kits, candy, chips, raw hotdogs, sodas, juice, oil (never know, may find a working car that needs an oil change.) anything. I was so busy packing my bag that I didn’t notice the skin creature walking towards the glass window behind me. But Kaleen did. “Khole!!” she screamed, waking up a wall creature inside the store. Great, two monsters to fight. I screamed and ran towards my sister as the skin creature burst through the glass window. Before the glass could finished hitting the floor, Kaleen grabbed my arm, as we ran through the store and out the door we came in. Kaleen led us to the closes neighborhood, where we kept running. “Run to that yellow house.” She directed. Her voice was loud and strong, alerting nearby creatures in the distant. They too began to chase us too. “Run” she yelled again. I wanted to drop my backpack, but I knew I couldn’t. It was so heavy. “I’m trying.” I yelled back. Kaleen held on tight to my arm. I knew I was slowing her down, so I tried to run faster.

We made it to the yellow house. Kaleen banged on the door. “Open up, it’s me” I looked behind us to see about fifteen skin creatures headed our way. “Please hurry up” I screamed, not taking my eyes off of the creatures. The door opened and Kaleen pulled me inside. She pulled me so hard that I wasn’t able to close the door behind us, but that didn’t matter any ways because seconds after we entered the house, the skin creatures were bursting through the house too. They chased us down a hallway. Kaleen kept a firm grip on me. She was pulling me so hard that I was running backwards, unable to completely stand on my feet, but knew better than to fall.

A skin creature was so close to my face; it snapped at me trying hard to grab any part of me. Another skin creature tried to push the one snapping at me out of the way, but it couldn’t pass because the hallway was too narrow. Kaleen swung me around until I was in front of her then she threw me inside a room and slammed the door shut behind us. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t believe how fast she was. “Go down the stairs.” She instructed while she locked the door. The creatures banged on the door. I couldn’t move. I stood there watching the door rattle. A hand behind me grabbed me and pulled me down the stairs. “Kaleen” I yelled. But the hand kept pulling me until we were at the back of the basement by a tiny window. “Give me your backpack” Darrel told. I gave him my backpack. “Quick, climb out of the window and run to your house. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Don’t wait for us.” Before I could interject, Darrel lifted me up and pushed me through the tiny window. He quickly shoved my backpack through it; I grabbed it, strapped it around my body and ran. I ran. A few skin creatures saw me and began to chase me. I tried hard not to scream. I knew if I did, more creatures would hear and come. I held my mouth and ran to my house.

When I made it to our house, my little brother was waiting by the bathroom window. He motioned for me to hurry up and pulled me in while quickly boarding the window up behind us. The skin creatures banged a few times on the window before they left and followed another noise nearby. Was it Darrel and Kaleen? Were they okay?

Our parents came running. When they saw me, they knew what was happening. An hour later, Kaleen and Darrel made it home.

Later, after our parents had scolded us, we found out that Darrel’s neighborhood was the Red Zone. We we’re blessed we had survived being there.

“Yup,” our dad began “That’s why going on family runs is important.” We all ignored him.

Our mother told us that we couldn’t stay in our home anymore. Because the creatures know we’re here, they will be back. So my family and I packed what we could and left the only safety we ever knew. We’re headed north, hoping, praying that we can live happy in the cold away from all the creatures. Like my father‘s new saying, “freezing to death isn’t the worst thing.” 

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2 comments

Nina Chyll
13:07 Apr 29, 2021

If I could offer one piece of critique, it would be to spend less words setting up the story and more in the snapshot you're taking with the narrator, Kole. What I mean by that is start with something happening, some inciting incident in the plot, and then slowly, weave your explanations into it here and there. This is to pull the reader in and become hooked, because they're going to want to know what happens next. It's a joy to discover what's going on in a dystopian world as you read on rather than have it all sketched out right at the beg...

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Tiffiana Harden
14:29 Apr 29, 2021

Noted. Thank you ❤️

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