The Epidemic

     My hair is disheveled now and my knuckles are bruised. After I had realized the horrifying fact that the President was my father, I sprinted for the door. His guards caught me and I put up quite a fight before I finally gave up. The guard on the left had a black eye and the guard on the right had red lines down his face from my nails. They're both glaring at me, but they have the common sense to be quiet. I'm staring down at my hands again because I cannot bear to look in those electric blue eyes that are the exact replica of mine. I focus on my nails, not bitten and torn like so many other girl's hands were. I thought it was ridiculous to bite your nails so I never did. My father's voice brings me out of my thoughts. “Marla. Marla, look at me,” he says, sounding nervous for the first time. I never noticed his eyes before, or anything until now. The President never made appearances on the TV. There were no pictures of him. We would only hear recordings of his voice come on the radio every now and then. News reporters and photographers would always report that the President was too busy to be seen. But now, seeing him sitting in his wheelchair, I understand that the real reason was that he would look like a weakling. As much as he tries to look regal, he's crumpled in his chair, and pale. I look up into his face and he sighs. “Marla, dear, I never meant for you to find out like this, I only-” I interrupt him. “You never meant for me to find out at all. Don't you dare call me 'dear' or 'sweetheart' or 'honey' because you lost that right a long time ago.” I glare at him, finding it easy now to look at his eyes. There's a long silence. And then, “Fine. I shall simply call you Marla then. Is that all right?” he continues before I can approve. “Never would I have thought thatyouwould be the one to have the Sight. You see, Marla, you are-” he pauses as he searches for the right word, “special. You are special. You have a gift in which nobody known has today. It is a gift, Marla, a gift.” To me, he sounds more as if he is reassuring himself than me. If this is a gift, then I'm glad that he wasn't around for my birthdays. What kind of gift is being able to see decayed corpses?

“Well, thanks for the birthday present, Mr. President,” I say, the words dripping with sarcasm.

“Please, call me 'Father'. After all, we are family. This gift you have, Marla, is very very valuable. If you must know, the truth, I will tell you. I can tell you everything, and perhaps then, you can trust me.” He pauses and begins.

“Before you were born, there was a great epidemic. Everyone became sick. There were droughts and food shortages. The country was dying. I worked my scientists day and night, pleading them to find a cure soon. We quarantined those who were sick, and those who weren't, we left outside. But the sickness was airborne, and soon, there were very few people who weren't sick. It was a strange illness, one that no scientist had ever encountered before. But like most illnesses and diseases, they used the sick bacteria against itself. One night, I was called. They had found the cure. But at the same time, I discovered a cure too. You see, I'm also a scientist. I thought mixing the two together might form the strongest cure ever. We made thousands. It seemed to work too. The whole country brightened up and became normal again. You can imagine, we worked hard to make things back to normal. Look at us now! But soon, I heard of young girls and boys who claimed to see 'zombies'. They believed everyone they saw was one. Many adults threw them into the asylum but I was curious. These children were weaklings though, and as soon as they would tell me everything, they would die. I never really thought it was real until one of my greatest scientists claimed to see the zombies too. You see, what we thought was the antidote was actually a new virus. Though it nearly destroyed all the virus cells of the first disease, it used some of the first virus's cells to create a new one. One that couldn't be seen unless you had the Sight. Those who had the Sight usually didn't have the virus. They were immune. The virus worked so that on the outside, things appeared to be normal. There was nothing wrong, no decaying of the body. But on the inside, the body was slowly rotting into oblivion. Even now, most of the country's people are dying on the inside, and they don't even know it. We're not completely sure about the disease, but if you can see.....We can test some people and try to find a real cure this time,” he finished, looking triumphant.

“Why should I help you?” I blurt out. He looks stunned.

“Excuse me?”

“Why. Should. I. Help. You?” I say, gritting my teeth. As he was telling his story, I saw that he only wanted to use me. He would use me and quickly throw me back into the house with Mom.Hewould be the glorious hero.

“Why, you're my daughter. Fathers and daughters help each other,” he said smoothly.

“And a fat lot of help you've been lately,” I hiss, and I almost bare my teeth at him. I realize how silly I must sound and look so I fall silent. He surveys me and then he laughs. I jump. His laugh sounds sonormal, so un-President-like. For the first time, I feel fear. He can laugh it off because he knows so many people support him. I'm just a teenager. I am alone.

The End

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