Dying to Live

"They say it started someplace in China, accidentally created by an elementary teacher who had once taught biology as a professor at some collage. They think he may have been studying different fatal diseases during his own time. They got mixed up or something, and now no one knows how to stop it." Alli Foxon is living in a dying world. A new sickness with no cure is spreading, and nobody seems to know how to stop it. Millions have already died, and this is just the beginning. On an untimely trip with her homeroom to go to the Massanutten Ski Slopes, they're forced to out wait a snowstorm in an empty cabin. The biggest wave of deaths from the sickness is expected while they're stranded, and Alli , who feels more alone than ever, will have to learn what it means to stand up, push her problems aside and be a leader if any of them are going to survive.

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1. Prologue

Pleasant rays of sunlight shone down from the heavens, filtering through the trees and scattering upon the forest floor. Birds chirped their lively songs in harmony with the many sounds of nature. It was a beautiful fall morning, one you would not expect to be associated with death.

A man stepped up onto a small boulder to admire the view of a sparkling lake, a few of his more adventurous pupils following his lead. The class had set out on a hiking trip and planned to go canoeing on the lake that lay before them. They’d walked several miles from the school to enjoy the day on the lake, a reward given to them by the teacher for exceptionally good testing grades. But little did the group know that they would never even get the chance to put their boats into the water.

The teacher stepped back onto the trail and led the way down the path, his students following close behind. They chatted excitedly amongst one another, thrilled to get to spend the day away from their desks and books. But had they known what would happen that day, they might have jumped at the chance to listen to boring lectures the entire day. But they didn’t know, and so they trotted on, the naive, unknowing children that they were.

It began with an itch in the back of the teacher’s throat. He cleared it and pulled a mint from his pocket to put in his mouth, hoping that it may bring him some relief. But the itch soon grew to be uncomfortable and began to burn. He took out his water bottle and drank from it, but swallowing only made it more painful. He felt a sensation to cough, and he did, but once he started, he couldn’t stop. He coughed and heaved and coughed some more, drawing the attention of a number of his students who looked up at him worriedly.

Suddenly, it was as if he had been possessed, coughing so violently that his face and vision went red. He fell to his knees, all of the class now looking at their teacher not knowing what to do.

Every time he managed to get a breath of air, it was immediately pushed back out of his lungs in another cough. His mind became fuzzy and unclear, all senses but tormenting agony abandoning him. The children surrounded their teacher, calling out to him and willing for him to get up. But soon, he both silenced and stilled, and the students understood it could not be reversed, that their teacher was forever gone.

What had caused this tragedy, they wondered. A heart attack? Heatstroke? It wasn't until later that night that it was determined that the teacher had died from a new, unclassified sickness. What was still unbeknownst, however, was that this ailment was highly contagious, even after it’s victims had died. Such was predicted when the teacher’s students, who were tucked in their beds surrounded by the empty darkness of their rooms, were woken from their slumbers by a burning in the back of their throats. It was confirmed and made official when the nurses and doctors who had come in contact with the dead teacher’s body had their work interrupted the next day by merciless coughing.

Many attempts were made to stop the disease, but all in vain as it seemed to make the illness spread that much quicker. The fatal sickness branched out in all directions, traveling by air, seas and land. It could not be stopped, nor could the havoc and panic it caused be brought to order. It wouldn’t be long until it was the ultimate international world-wide killer.

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