The Blinkers

Myra considered herself like a lab rat. The scientists just tested her and tested her, trying to beat this terrifying plague until one day, she just broke. Went invisible, and that's how she started blinking, along with the rest of her "inmates". That is, until they escaped. In this post-apocalyptic adventure, follow Myra, Brody, and their friends through a fight against contagion, the government, and even each other.

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1. Chapter 1 Part 1

      A shot rang out through the forest, and a bird fell. Out of habit I blinked into transparency. I peered to my right and spotted a blob of orange heading our way. Looking around, I saw a few new ones trying to blink, but only flickering for a few seconds and coming back into existence. I ran to them and they wrapped their arms around me, instantly going clear. We never saw hunters anymore, and it confused us as to why he still felt the need to wear the bright orange that may have been a necessity a few years ago, but now he knew just as well as we did that there wasn't a need. There isn't anybody in the woods. There never is anymore. The hunter approached, trudging over the thick layer of red and brown autumn leaves fallen too early, and we could immediately tell he was a rogue. He was infected, and was't going to last long. The man took cumbersome steps toward the bird and bit into the raw meat with a ferocity that could never be of a normal, healthy human. He chewed the feathers, bones, meat and all without a second thought. The adults cringed and covered the young blinkers eyes, shielding their juvenile minds from the horrific sights before them.

       This was what happened when you got the plague. It killed your brain and made you rogue, crazy. And then you just died. There was no cure or vaccine, and no matter how hard what few scientists left tried, it seemed like they couldn't even come close to defeating the powerful illness. It ruled the world now. Once you are infected, you have at most maybe three days. Some people said that once your brain went away, your soul went right with it, and you become an empty body committing seemingly pointless acts of violence. 

       The hunter continues eating, and the blinkers keep watching as the horrible feast unfolds. There is a crack as he breaks the skull open with a rock, and even the adults must turn away now, knowing only even more disturbing events will follow. This meal may have been completely disgusting, but it was a blessing that it only lasted for a brief instance. About five minutes passed before the orange man fell over, dead. It must have been close to his time when he shot the bird. It's a surprise that he had enough life in him to do even that. I'd been noticing that in a lot of sick lately. They're getting more fight in them, living longer. Almost as if the disease is getting stronger and growing in its dominance. There isn't a current explanation, but one needs to be found. If it wasn't, we could be facing a post-apocalyptic apocalypse. 

       Other blinkers started to turn around, and I released the child I was grasping. She hastily ran over to another little girl a few yards away by a massive oak. I exhaled my long held breath and peered around the diameter of the area. Anira was across the way chatting with a few other teen blinkers. She finished what she was saying and started walking toward me.

       "Did you see that?" she asked, leaning on a nearby tree. I rolled my eyes.

       "No, Anira. Unfortunately, I happened to be looking the other way and missed the entire thing."        She could hear my sarcasm and glared.

       She could be so stupid sometimes. 

       I looked at the lifeless body sloppily sprawled on the forest floor. I wonder what his life was like before he was infected. Did he have kids? A girlfriend or wife? Pets? Or maybe he was just some loser that played video games all day in his mother's basement. That wouldn't explain his hunting getup, though. Thinking about his past life- what about his friends? He had to have had some. Maybe they were hunting with him, and maybe they're infected, too. If that's the case, it was better we left the scene. The infected usually roam in ravenous and violent packs, and the others couldn't be far off.

       "Come on, Anira. This body's creeping me out." I started to walk away from the group of blinkers and Anira trailed behind. I dragged my feet through the slick brown sludge underneath and picked at my nails.

       Anira was biting her lip and looking at the ground.

       "What's up with you?" I asked her, shifting closer to where she was walking.

       She just shrugged and continued eyeing the brush that she was walking over. "It's just so sad."

       I could tell when she said it that she was thinking about her dad. Before the tests, we had all been happy, normal families. well, scratch that. I don't know how happy anyone could have been in that terrible time when the infection started spreading. 

       Anyway, Anira had lived in a nice house with her mom, dad, and sister, Zuri. From all I saw, they were all pretty close. Slowly but surely, though, their perfect family began to fall apart.

       When the plague started spreading, that's when panic began setting in. It originated in Asia, but cases started popping up in the US. All flights were cancelled to anywhere outside the country. All borders were blocked, and no one was allowed in. All other countries were completely wiped off the grid as far as the US citizens knew. The governments would go to whatever lengths to protect the country, or at least, that's how they came off. At first. 

       The disease was extremely rare in America at this point. Everybody thought that. Including the government who also believed the infection numbers were going down.

       Until one day in Washington. 

       Nobody knew what happened. It was like a slap across the face to the entire state. 

       People were running around nuts everywhere, infected. It was the biggest outbreak in US history. All of Seattle basically burned down, and it was clear that that was the beginning of the end. We were pretty sure that the rest of the world had already been infected and demolished.  Since we no longer had any contact with them, we considered ourselves the last country standing, minus Hawaii. Nobody knew what was happening over there since connection was lost.

       It all went downhill from there, though. Luckily, Anira and her family had lived in the rural part of Washington. Nothing had happened yet there, but the Locklands still started packing and getting ready to leave their life-long home.

      They were going to leave one day, ready to run, run away from all the dangers in Washington, still aware of the fact that that wasn't the end. That the scariest things they were running from could catch up just as easily. There was no safe anymore.

       This really hit them hard when the complication happened. It was Anira's dad. He was starting to show signs of the infection. He was twitchy, nervous, and starting to mumble random things. Crazy things. Things that make your skin crawl.

       After this, the Locklands didn't know what to do. They weren't sure where he had picked it up, or when, but it went without saying that there was nothing they could do for him now.

       Even after much of Anira's protesting, her mother called the Bureau of Infectious Diseases. Considering how busy they must have been because of what happened in Seattle, it was a big surprise when it was told that someone would be over.

       According to Anira's stories, this is where it really got heartbreaking. Her father started weeping. Weeping for his family, weeping because he realized what was happening to him. He was losing himself, and everything he loved.

       When the Bureau finally arrived, it ended. They entered, and shot Anira's dad to the ground, right in front of her. No goodbyes, nothing. Only the image of her beloved father falling to the ground, lifeless. The Bureau immediately left after this horrid event. Since then, we've that the governments isn't to be trusted. All of us blinkers know that.

      

       "I know," I said, taking her into my arms and squeezing tight. It was hard to believe that just a few short months ago, life was completely normal. We still went to school, still had boyfriends, friends, pets. Still had lives like they should be.

       "They just, they lose control and it isn't their fault! All anybody can think to do about it is kill them, not knowing about them, their family. The people they loved. The people that loved them." she continued between tears that had begun to trickle down her cheeks.

       That was when we heard it. The soft crunch of leaves as someone or something approached behind us. We both froze and held our breath, blinking even though we knew whatever was behind us had already spotted the two of us. I grabbed her hand as we got ready to turn around. After seeing the hunter, I figured that this must be another one from his "pack".

       Before we looked to see what it was and why it was standing there like that, arms suddenly wrapped around both of our sides.

       "I can still see you!" A familiar voice whispered in my ear. I wriggled out of his strong grip and pushed him backwards. Out of surprise, he fell back and released Anira, too.

       "Luke?! What the heck? You scared the bejeezus out of us!" I shouted at him.

       "Well, yeah, that was kinda the point,  Blondie," he said, ruffling my hair a bit.

       Anira just giggled while I glared. Sometimes it getsannoying how she can never get mad at him considering they were together.

       "Why are you two so tense anyway? We see one infected and you act like it's the end of the world!" He said with a wink to follow up his humor.

       I was so not amused and so not in the mood for his jokes.

       "Whatever." I turned on my heel and started walking away 

       "Where are you going?" They shouted behind me. I just kept walking.

       "Come on! We were just about to head back to camp!!" Luke shouted, and I ignored.  Normal friends would wonder why their best friends weren't going with them, but I knew the minute that Luke showed up I wouldn't get any more alone time with Anira for awhile. 

       After a bit, I got tired of walking and sat down by a tree. I picked at a dead leaf, studying the veins that used to be full of green life, turned infectious brown by the chilling fingers of autumn. It isn't sad to see all the dead leaves around me, though. They were destined to fall once autumn came on. It isn't like that with infected people, though. They were destined to live long, pleasant lives. They could have been married, had children, had a family, but all of that joy was pinched off by the poisonous hands of the plague. 

       My thoughts were cut off by a sudden shouting coming from a few hundred yards away. Out of habit,  I immediately blinked and stood up, peering around the tree. Two figures came into view. One moved swiftly, dodging branches and trees that seemed to just jump in front of him. The other with the unmistakable lumber of the infected as it chased its prey.

       The infected one wasn't very nimble. I watched as it ran right into a tree, unable to move out of the way quick enough. I couldn't help but giggle at this, quickly covering my mouth in realizing my mistake. I checked to make sure I was still blinked, and was relieved to see the glittery sheen showering my body. The two of them wouldn't be able to see me. They'd probably think they were just hearing things. 

       It was odd, though. The uninfected man seemed to stop and look right into my eyes, as if he could see me standing before him plain as day. He just stood there staring at me, head cocked to the side a bit while I remained motionless, staring right back. 

       Within a few seconds, his pursuer had caught up, and the man hadn't realized it. he was pushed to the ground and quickly snapped out of his trance. The infected kept biting, but the man was too agile for it, and each strike was blocked with a fist full of power and precision. I watched as he whipped a sword out of a scabbard on his belt and easily ended the monster, driving his blade through its heart. 

       I stared in awe at the lifeless body, amazed at how efficiently it had been killed. There was a loud crack, and it took me a moment before I realized it was my back being shoved against a tree and held there.

       "Who are you? Who sent you? Are you.... are you one of them?"  he demanded, pushing my shoulders into the tree even more and pressing his whole body into mine, ensuring that I can't escape. 

       "What are you talking about? Get off of me you frickin' lunatic!" I yelled in his face, trying to squirm free. But he was too strong for me, and my wiggling about didn't seem to phase him. His only reaction was to push into me even more, and it was really starting to hurt. I could feel my breath getting slower as he crushed my chest into the bark with his body, and I started to get worried.

       He saw me cringe and smirked. "Now you want to talk, don't you? " he asked, snickering. "Are you a part of that sick tribe? I won't ask again." He spit the words out like they were poison.

       I'm really scared, and really confused as to why he can see me, considering I've been blinked this whole time, but I don't show any of these thoughts to spare him of the satisfaction. Instead, I spit in his face. This  seems to surprise him quite a bit because he loosens his grip. I take this chance to push him backward with all my strength, knocking him into a tree. 

       This seems to surprise him even more. I take another chance and kick his legs out from under him, pinning him to the ground.

       "Look here, buddy. I don't know who you are, or what you want, or what the hell you're talking about. But all this random crap you're screaming in my face seems pretty nuts. So nuts, I have the mind to think that you're infected, and if that's the case, I do have the right to kill you. So next time you try to accuse me of being in some cult or whatever, just remember that I CAN and WILL kill you," I said, forcing all of my weight on his torso, giving him a taste of his own medicine.

       He just chuckled at my statement and looked at me.

       I furrowed my brow, wondering what could possibly be funny to him. 

       "Get off of me, child. It was an honest mistake," he said.

       I narrowed my eyes. "I wouldn't call it honest, and I'm not a child, I'm 17. If anybody's acting like a child here, it's you. Attacking me and trying to kill me just for standing there? That sounds pretty childish to me." I replied, growing angrier and angrier by the second. 

       "Alright, fine. Just let me go. I won't try anything.  Pinkie swear?" he inquired, holding up his pinkie.

       I slapped his hand away....         

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