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Fiction Sad Science Fiction

Trigger Warning: Death, Disease

I always laughed at the people who prepared for an apocalypse, as if zombies or aliens or some disease would take over someday and they'd need to save the world. If the world was going to end, there would be no heroes. Hell, if the world was going to end, we'd all turn into selfish monsters.

In the end, I was right.

I don’t have friends. I probably could if I wanted to. I can be funny, in my mind, at least. I gossip with no shame. I am generous when I want to be. But I don't want friends. I don't want to hand out my trust, only to have it smashed into shards and thrown back in my face. It’s happened before, but it won’t again. I'm good on my own. 

I don’t go out much, either. Social media is how I see the world. I mean, I'm not a hermit or anything. I go out to get groceries and coffee and cheap liquor from the Cub Foods near my house. I just prefer to stay at home. 

I don’t even leave for work. I run a business called ‘Sam’s Sites’. I design websites, and I don’t even have to leave the house. You wouldn't think it'd pay the bills, but I'm pretty good, so I get by alright.

I could've gone out that day. Maybe I should have. I was getting low on groceries, I wanted to pick up a book from the library, and my laundry detergent had run out a week ago.

I was lazy, though, and on my period, and so I decided to lay on the couch and work on a web design while eating handfuls of chocolate chips from my cupboard.

I was having a hard time getting my work done, though, because my phone wouldn't stop buzzing. I picked it up to put it on silent, but I caught a glimpse of some of the notifications.

"A Worldwide Panic Follows The Outbreak of a Brain Altering Disease, Believed to Have Stemmed from Solar Radiation."

"The 'Radiation Epidemic' has been found to spread rapidly through close contact, and the results are dementia-like behaviors, accompanied by an overwhelming desire to communicate with others."

"The Governments of the World disagree on the best possible way to proceed. The United States of America is issuing a complete shut-down."

"New evidence suggests the disease will kill after approximately one hour of infection, after the mind shuts down."

"The Radiation Epidemic surpasses the deadliest Epidemic in history after only six hours."

How had I missed this?

I immediately unlocked my phone and got the whole story from one of the many news articles available. They were calling this the ‘Radiation Epidemic’ or the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’. It suddenly appeared this morning in hospitals and homes in Europe. It had spread to the U.S. only two hours ago.

I left my website half-finished and started scrolling through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. Everyone has posted something about the disease. 

“Sending prayers for everyone affected,” one person wrote. “We are all in this together!”

“My grandma just came over to my house, and we’re having a family reunion! Anyone want to join us?”

“Thanks to all my followers! Do you want to come see me? I want to see you!”

It took me a moment to realise. A few people discouraged the dangerous behavior, but many of the comments were positive.

“Yes, I’ll come see you!”

“Can I bring my sister? She wants to see you too!”

“I really want to come and see you!”

How many people were infected?

I couldn’t take it anymore. I went onto the comments section of one of the posts. “We are in a global pandemic,” I wrote frantically. “You can’t go and see people!” But my comment was quickly buried in the avalanche of infected longings.

I tapped out of the social media app and dialed my mom. I hadn’t called her in a month, but I guess a widespread deadly disease was enough to risk hearing her nagging me to get a husband or a ‘real job’.

The phone rang three times before she picked up. I expected her to immediately start yelling. Maybe Jake would pick up. My father died three years ago, and my mom was devastated, but she quickly moved in with her ‘close friend’. They got married three months later. She promised she wasn’t cheating on dad. I didn’t believe her.

When she picked up, however, her voice was cheerful. “Hello,” she said, ”Who is this?”

“It’s Sam.” When she didn’t answer for a moment, I decided to elaborate. “Samantha. Your daughter?”

“Oh, yes Samantha! How are you? Can I come over?”

“No, mom, there’s a weird disease spreading around, you can’t come over. Are you feeling sick at all?”

“Sick? No, no, no, I am perfectly healthy. Can I come over? I want to see you!”

Oh. Shit.

I started to tear up a bit as understanding passed through me. An hour. The disease killed in an hour. She had less than an hour left.

“Mom,” I said, my voice a little shaky. “Where are you?”

“I’m at home. Jake just came back from work. He wants to see you too! Our neighbor came to see us. Can we come see you?”

I contemplated letting her come over, or driving over to her place. I’d get sick. I’d die within an hour. But I could be with my mother as she left.

But I couldn’t. I still really wanted to live. As much as I loved her, I couldn’t give that up to comfort her as she died.

So, I settled with a few kind words. “No, mom, you can’t. I love you. I’m sorry.” I hung up quickly. Then, I got up and locked the door, the windows, anywhere someone could get in. I checked my pantry. There wasn’t much, but I could live off of it for a while, a week or two, if I stretched it. I knew how to make bread, and I had yeast and flour and bread pans. 

It was funny, I thought. I didn’t often want human interaction, but when I couldn’t have it anymore, the need for it rang through my body. I wondered if I could go online and find some of the others, anyone who wasn’t infected. Maybe we could hang out.

No. No, no, no, no, no, no, I wasn’t infected. I was not infected. I didn’t even want to see other people. Not at all.

I sat on my couch. Turned on the T.V. Half of the news channels were encouraging people to stay home. The other half were having people call in to give their addresses, and then going to their homes to see them.

I couldn’t do anything. Nothing but wait here.

In the end, there was nothing to do but scroll through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook as the world fell into chaos.

October 11, 2021 16:05

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2 comments

Ariana Lamers
18:52 Dec 04, 2021

Can I come see you?

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Bella Marie
03:17 Dec 06, 2021

ha ha... no. that's kinda the point.

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