Gone

An epidemic is spreading. An epidemic that nobody has ever seen before, that nobody was ready for. It doesn't just kill people; it evolves them, wipes them into shells and reinvents them into machines to spread this disease before painfully removing them from the Earth. Ebony Wilson has lost her mom to this plague, and has lost the rest of her family in the chaos. Unsure of where they are, and what steps to take when she finds them, whether they're infected or not, she works day by day to make it through this. To make it up to her mom and to find her family. Will Ebony keep her head long enough to make it through, if this epidemic ever ends?

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14. Chapter 14

    The research that I was able to conduct on my father was extremely beneficial, but it wasn’t enough.  It didn’t give me all of the information I needed, all of the questions I had weren’t answered.

    But I do know how to stop it.  I think I’ve been on to something, for a while, but I just need more time.

    Time is one of the only things that we have nowadays.  We have all the time in the world, and yet we still need more.  There is not enough time, and there never will be enough time.

    I believe that there is a hospital somewhat nearby.  It’s past a few larger buildings, and I know there will be many swarms on the way, but I have to get there.  It is the way I can finish my research and create enough of a cure to keep myself safe.

    I would like to find a Bloody on the way - those are the creatures with red eyes and blood pools.  Just seemed like a right name for them.  Then I might be able to figure out what branch of disease this was, and if it was mutated from an already-existing disease by the government.

    Finding a Bloody could help me as well.  I can figure out the different stages and how to possibly stop them from advancing.  Of course, then if you stayed too long on a certain stage, it would definitely kill you.  I just don’t know when.

    Again, it’s a time problem.  I could easily become trapped within a swarm and have to start over my research.  I’d need even more time to study and start over.  But all I have is time.

    Currently, I’m walking through the woods, still constantly moving.  I’ve walked here before, I’m pretty sure, but not recently.  Sometime before the outbreak, I might’ve visited this area.  It’s very far from my home, where I grew up.  It’s incredible that I walked all the way here, but also that I thought nothing of it.  At this point, it’s not out of the ordinary.  Nothing is anymore - everybody just seems to accept it now.

    These woods seem to be the lease swarmed woods I’ve walked through.  As opposed to the others, I rarely see any of the creatures, maybe a swarm every hour or so, some singular ones every half an hour.

    I’ve decided to set up camp in the area, as the night approaches.  Walking around during the night, especially in unfamiliar woods, can be terrifying and dangerous.

    I’ve set up some barbed wire that I found at a prison back where my home was located.  I use my gloves to string it around a small area to designate my makeshift home.  I have a few pillows that I lay on, placing one side on the ground.  Yes, they get dirty - I’m not too fond of that part.  But it is better than nothing.

    Sleeping never comes easy to me anymore.  I’m too paranoid to sleep now, and when I do get to doze off, it’s only for a couple hours, at most.  I’m woken by everything, all of the little sounds.  Bugs buzzing around my head, birds, footsteps, everything wakes me up.  I know I’m nearly always safe, relatively, but I’m still terrified.  I don’t want to succumb to the illness that I’ve been trying to study.

    My mind is buzzing, moving from one subject to another.  I start off thinking about my childhood, how I was never a huge fan of science until high school.  I had wondered what it would be like to become a scientist, but it didn’t appeal to me until I started chemistry classes.  My dad got me a chemistry set and I was constantly experimenting with all different elements.

    I loved finding out more about boiling and melting points especially.  My dad was interested in the experiments, supervising whenever I used the stove or anything dangerous like that.  He would buy me different sets to perform different experiments, and he would also buy me some chemicals to experiment with.  It was some of the most fun I’d had before the outbreak.

    My father was also a big fan of baseball growing up.  He took me to a few games, and I enjoyed it, but I could never get a hang of the sport.  Sports, in general, weren’t my thing.  But I could run.

    I joined a cross country team when I was in middle school.  I was always extremely skinny, to the point where it was nearly unhealthy.  It was suggested that I played some kind of sport, but I couldn’t find one that appealed to me until I started running.  I don’t want to brag at all, but I found that I was fast and could run far distances without stopping,

    It took my mind off of everything.  Anything that was bothering me, nagging at the back of my mind disappeared while I was running.  I felt so free, so alive, and I was good at it, too.  It made me feel incredible.

    I ran all through middle school and at the beginning of high school.  The team in high school was too small, however, and we had to stop after freshman year.  I only went two years off of the team, and that was when the outbreak started.  I still ran, but it wasn’t the same.  It’s one thing to run alone, but running with other people who are as passionate as you are is indescribable.

    The rest of high school was overall a lonely experience.  I mentioned earlier that I didn’t have many friends, and that was completely and utterly true.  Usually the only people who wanted to be near me or hang out with me just wanted my notes or help with studying.  I didn’t mind it, but I never liked being used.  I’d rather they just tell me they’d like to study with me.

    Guess that doesn’t really matter now anyway.

    I’m starting to drift off to sleep thinking about all of my past experiences.  They are playing over and over again in my mind and I feel sleep tugging at the corners of my mind.

    That’s when I hear the screams.

    They are very close to me, loud screams that sound like someone is in serious pain.  I bolt upright and jump to my feet, surveying my surroundings.

    I see a graying creature stuck on the barbed wire near my dwelling.  It is screaming, and I notice that its eyes are not red yet.  They are bloodshot, but the iris of the eye is still a dulling color, indicating that it had blue eyes while it was still alive.

    Its skin is pulled extremely tight on its face, to the point where you can see the bone structure.  In fact, all of its skin is pulled tight, almost as if it has no more blood circulating.  The sight is extremely eerie, and I can see its eyes flitting left and right, almost as if it’s scared.

    But I know it can’t feel scared.

    Right?

    I remember, before my dad died, him looking at me.  His eyes looked almost pleading, but he couldn’t speak or move for himself.  I tried to let it go, but the images haunted my dreams, my visions, my waking moments.  It terrified me, but it didn’t make me want to quit my studies.  On the contrary - it made me want to continue with even more passion.

    I stare directly into the creature’s eyes, pupils dilated.  Trying to look sympathetic, in case it can see me somehow, I pull a knife out of its sheath at my hip and stick it up under the chin of the creature, killing it with a huge wail.  I can hear the footsteps of other creatures coming, but I know it’s too dangerous to venture out tonight.  I decide, for now, to just stay here and kill them as they hit the wire.  No danger to me, nothing that makes me too uncomfortable.  I can keep a level head.  In the morning, I’ll head out and try to head towards the hospital, if I can somehow find it.

 

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~       ~

 

Lying awake in my bed, only dozing off for short periods of time, I notice the sun finally peak over the horizon.  Time to get a move on.

    Rubbing my eyes, I get up slowly, checking my surroundings, and then I start to pack everything up.  It doesn’t take too long to clear out the creatures that are near the barbed wire and then take down the wire itself.

    I put all of my belongings into my medium-sized duffel bag, survey the area I had been in to make sure I didn’t leave anything, and start on my way.  It is still somewhat dark out, as the sun is just dawning, but I am able to find the correct direction and start to head out.  This morning, the forest is quite foggy and I am unable to see more than ten feet in front of me.  I have to take my time because of this, checking each direction at certain intervals.

    Heading through the woods, I follow the highway, weaving in and out of the trees so it is  in view every once in a while.  I soon see an odd shape up against the highway and head towards it to investigate further.

    I reach the unusual protrusion and find that it is a pile of bodies propped up against the road barrier.  They are all graying creatures, somewhat freshly killed, and I can see how most of them were killed.

    It can only mean one thing - another survivor is close by.  Maybe I’ll be able to find them on my way to the hospital.  That would be ideal, because a colleague, while they can be a setback in this awful event, can also be your greatest asset.  All in all, I’d love to have somebody to talk to, make up for my childhood.

    It’s funny how the things we used to despise or take advantage of have become the things we desire the most.

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