Fiction Sad Science Fiction

While adjusting the sling of his assault M16 rifle on his shoulder, which once belonged to his late father, David watched his younger sister Aimee, who struggled to use the axe to split the woods for their fireplace. ‘If you grab the axe like this, it works better.’ He explained while showed her the proper use of the axe with both his hands.

For Aimee, just ten years of age, the axe was hefty, so she said, ‘David, it is too heavy. You are older and stronger than me. Why don’t you split the woods?’

‘Look, I am standing guard. I also want you to learn how to make firewood when I am gone.’

‘Are you going somewhere? Please don’t leave May and me alone.’ She said anxiously.

David looked at May, his youngest sister, just five years of age, playing with her dolls on the veranda. ‘Silly girl! I am not going anywhere. Until I am alive, I will stay with you two.’

‘Are you going to die?’ Aimee asked with a trembling voice, and her eyes filled with tears.

‘I don’t want to die.’ David answered, but his answer sounded hollow. ‘As you know, this virus, the pandemic, targets adults older than seventeen years old. And I just become sixteen. So soon my body will stop fighting back the virus when I become seventeen and older.’ David answered. He didn’t want to die at that young age. He had many dreams and plans. The thought of his death made his heart heavy with sadness, and his eyes brimmed with the tear. To hide his emotions, he turned his face toward the home, and with a strange voice, foreign to himself, trying to mask his emotions, said, ‘It’s lunchtime, and I am starving, how about you?’


The sight of the two intruders interrupted his emotional thoughts. Two men in full yellow PPE suits, like two scientists out of a thriller science fiction movie, were approaching their home. David immediately raised his rifle and pointed at them. Then he swiftly instructed Aimee and May to go inside the home. Aimee obediently ran toward the house and grabbed her sister’s hand, and they retreated into the building. David then faced the intruders and shouted, ‘stop there. Identify yourself?’ He adopted the phrase from a movie he saw a long time ago.

The woman in the front, which at first he thought to be a man in that bulky yellow hazmat suit, raised her arms and loudly said, ‘don’t shoot. We are not armed. We are with CDC.’

‘What’s CDC?’ David asked.

‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.’ She responded.

‘But, you are grown-ups! No one older than seventeen lives in this city. They all died by the virus.’

‘Yes, we are grown-ups.’ She responded. Then, to reduce the tension, she introduced herself and her colleague. ‘I am Dr. Sarah Smith, and this is my colleague Dr. James Blake. We are virologists. We study viruses, how they make us sick, and trying to find a cure or vaccine for them.’

‘How old are you?’ David asked.

‘I am 35 years old and….’ She turned toward her colleague and asked, ‘how old are you, James?’

‘I am 33.’ James responded.

‘Really, I thought you are older than me.’ Sarah commented.

‘What are you doing here? And how did you survive up to this age?’ David asked.

‘We are not armed. If you don’t mind, please first point your gun in a safe direction.’ Sarah requested.

David pointed his rifle’s muzzle toward the ground.

‘Thank you. Now I can answer your questions.’ Sarah responded. Then she began her explanation. ‘Ten years ago, in the year 2020, when we were at the peak of the pandemic, scientists successfully developed a few different vaccines that worked against the first, or the original strain of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). But they couldn’t produce enough vaccine for all the world population to eradicate the virus. Vaccine brought hope, and people got relaxed and put their guard down. And this caused another surge in the number of infected people. The high number of infected people created a suitable environment for the virus to mutate. Soon we faced new mutated strains of the virus that were more transmissible and resistant to vaccines. The Texan strain, which was first found in Texas in 2024, was a thousand times more transmissible than the original virus and caused serious complications among individuals older than seventeen years old. And as you can see, in a matter of a few years, almost all adults died by the infection.’

‘But you are still alive!’

‘We have isolated ourselves since then. But during this time, we have been working on a vaccine for the Texan strain. Now we developed a few vaccine candidates, and now we need to recruit people to test it on them.’ Sarah explained.

‘We want you to help us talk with the resident of this town. To vaccinate you all. And if the results are satisfactory, we can start vaccinating the rest of the country.’ James added to his colleague’s explanation.

‘But vaccines are a decoy. The authorities wanted to put a microchip in peoples’ bodies to control them. No one in this town has ever vaccinated.’ David stated.

‘Sadly, it was misinformation that was circulating among people. The vaccines worked against the original strain of the virus. If everyone in the country and the world were vaccinated, we would eradicate the virus, and your parents and many other people would be alive today.’ Sarah explained.

‘Yes, the misinformation caused many to refuse to get vaccinated and so gave the virus time to mutate.’ James added.

‘We don’t want to lose our freedom and become a government’s poppet.’ David repeated what he was indoctrinated by his parents and people.

‘That is not true. Vaccines save lives. Just think, where will you be in one or two years?’ Sarah asked.

He knew the answer well. He would be dead in two years.

‘Vaccines are not to control people’s minds, but even it is, do you want to be controlled or be dead?’ This time James asked.

‘I don’t want to die!’ David hesitantly responded.

 After a moment of silence, Sarah asked, ‘would you help us to save others?’

David mused on what Sarah told him but said nothing.

‘What should I call you, young man?’ Sarah asked.

‘David. David Richardson.’

‘Would you like to help us, David?’ Sarah asked. ‘We really need your help and anyone else to end this madness, to win the war against this killer virus.’

‘Um… I will talk with other guys in town. But I promise nothing.’ David replied.

‘Sure. That is great.’ Sarah responded. ‘Do you access a phone?’

‘No. It is about four years that we are cut from the world. We don’t have electricity either.’

‘Ok, David. I will give you a satellite phone and a solar charger.’ Sarah said.

James took two boxes out of his carry bag and gave them to David. ‘You can find CDC phone number in its contacts. And there is also a direct contact number to Dr. Smith’s satellite phone.’

‘Thank you.’ David said and grabbed the phone.

‘The flexible solar charger is simple to use. Just connect its cable to the phone and spread it under the sunlight. It will charge the phone in under two hours. It is better to not leave the phone under direct sunlight. You can easily cover it with a rag or a towel.’ James explained.

‘Please talk with others. I will contact you in two days. Tell them what we told you. If you arrange a meeting, I will answer all their questions.’ Sarah said.


Around twenty young men and women, not older than seventeen, gathered in the town’s municipal building at David’s request. Peter, the eldest person in the town, just seventeen, appointed as the community leader, silently listened to David, who explained about his meeting with Dr. Sarah Smith and his colleague. ‘What if they lie and have other intentions?’ Peter asked.

‘I don’t think they are lying.’ David responded.

‘You know, our community has always been against vaccine and vaccination. None of us had ever been vaccinated. We don’t need anyone’s help.’ Jason, a hot-headed fifteener, commented.

‘Yeh. But if our parents had been vaccinated, they would be in this room now, deciding on important matters. And we would be at the school at this time of day.’ David answered.

‘Adults still die in vaccinated communities.’ Jason replied with an air of being right.

‘Yes. They also lost some of their adult population, but those who died were usually old and frail. But in our town, with no exception, all adults above seventeen died. And we will also join our dead parents in the next two to three years. It is not the time to be stubborn. We have to save ourselves and our community.’ David answered.

‘You are a pussy. Are you afraid of dying?’ Jason mocked him.

‘No, I am not afraid of dying. I worry more about my sisters’ fates than my own life. They are children, and I don’t want to see anything bad happen to them. I like to be alive until they grow up and become independent.’ David responded with a sad voice.

‘When you die, nothing matters. You won’t feel anything.’ Jason said.

‘I am not a callous person like you. You also have two younger siblings. Have you thought what will happen to them after you?’

Jason just frowned. It was apparent he had also thought about his younger siblings’ fates.

David faced the group and said, ‘Look, guys, we all lost our parents to this evil virus and pandemic, and in the current situation, none of us in this room will be alive in the next two to three years. Are you really want to die? We can talk to these people from CDC. If we find they just bullshitting us, we will kick their asses hard. But how about if they have something to offer and save our lives and community?’

After a long debate, they finally voted to meet the CDC scientists. ‘As the majority vote favors meeting CDC scientists and listening to what they have to offer. I ask friends who voted against the meeting to respect the majority’s vote.’ Peter said at the end of the session.


A week later, Dr. Sarah Smith, with two of her colleagues in full PPE suits, attended the meeting. Their hazmat suits didn’t help gain her young spectators’ trust. But just having that meeting was a big step for her and her colleagues. ‘I am very thankful for letting us come here to meet you all. I am Dr. Sarah Smith. This is Dr. James Blake. We both are virologists. And this is my friend Dr. Gina Broadwater, an epidemiologist.’

‘Just tell us what is your purpose of coming here?’ Jason said suspiciously.

‘We are working for CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last few years, we have been working on a vaccine for the Texan virus. The good news is that we have already developed a few candidate vaccines for this virus.’ Sarah explained.

‘If you have already had the vaccine, so why you need our help.’ Sandra, a tough-looking girl, asked

‘We have candidate vaccines.’ Sarah briefly answered.

‘What do you mean by it? Why didn’t you try it on yourself?’ Sandra asked.

Sarah noticed her mistake there. These people were teenagers, the situation forced them to act like adults, but they lacked the life experiences and the knowledge of an adult that comes from years of living. She changed her tone and responded, ‘we developed three vaccine candidates for the Texan virus using three different methods. These vaccines have shown positive results on animals. Now we want to test it on humans. As you are all have already infected with the virus and your biological clock ticks against you until a certain age when your body loses its ability to keep the virus at bay, you are the best candidate for our trial. If our vaccines work, your body will continue to fight back the virus, and you won’t die at seventeen. We expect our vaccines, or at least one of them works against the virus. So by testing the vaccine on you, you do not lose anything. In fact, you might add years to your life.’

‘You didn’t answer Sandra’s question? Why didn’t you test it on yourselves?’ Jason said brusquely.

‘We were in isolation, and we don’t have this virus among our people. And we are all at the age that the virus is fatal for us. After vaccination, we just have to wait and see its result as you are all carrying the virus. But for us, we have to inject the live virus to our people, which morally is not acceptable and can be fatal.’

‘I still not satisfied, and I don’t want to be vaccinated. I have never been vaccinated.’ Jason stubbornly stated.

‘I know where you are coming from. There is no force. We just need volunteers. Who is volunteering?’

After a long moment of indecision, a few raised their hands and volunteered for the CDC’S vaccination trial. But the majority kept their skepticism inherited from their late parents. Though they all saw how their radical view toward science cost them their lives. Sarah thought it is part of human nature to be adamant on things that have been indoctrinated and reject all the existing evidence against their belief. ‘Somehow, doesn’t matter how it is irrational we chose or old ways.’


Inoculation started in a few days. David and his sisters were among the minority who were inoculated.

Three months later, the result was very good. With some marginal differences, all vaccinated individuals showed immunity to the Texan virus.

Two years later, though David was eighteen, he was healthy and actively looking after his younger siblings and the property left from their parents. But all his friends and acquaintances who refused Inoculation were six feet under.


March 12, 2021 18:45

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