Author: Alexis L. Everett PM
When they finally find the cure for cancer strange things begin to happen.People are eating people, and now Juniper,must find two strangers to help her untangle the mystery of the cure.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Tragedy - Words: 2,398 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 05-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3026140
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Cancer, in the world I used to live in, that word struck fear in the hearts of everyone who heard it. It was worse than the Black Plague and killed more than the Bubonic Plague, and after decades of people watching the ones they love slowly deteriorate there had been no cure, but then, when I had turned five, a miracle happened. A man had discovered the cure.
No one now remembers his name, but everyone remembers the mad rush for the cure. The first ones to receive it were the ones in the worst shape, then the children, then the elderly, then anyone else who were cursed with the disease, and then, finally, anyone who was at risk. The cure was distributed around the world, saving the lives of anyone it touched, and for the first time in many years, the world was happy, but happiness can never last.
Reports came pouring in a month after the cure had been discovered, all over the world people were attacking other people, turning into cannibals and biting into anyone they saw on the street. No one knew what was going on, many feared that it was a new disease meant to take the place of cancer, but it spread too quickly and happened with no warning. One day someone would be fine, saying 'hello' to their neighbors and going out to pick up dinner and then they wouldn't be seen at all the next day only to appear at night, eyes bright yellow and hungry for human flesh.
People began staying in after the sun had set, too afraid of being attacked by the monsters that had once been human. It was then that people starting making the connection, everyone who had turned into a monster had once had cancer or had been at risk for cancer and received the cure, this knew-found knowledge didn't save anyone, but it gave those monsters a name, they had become the Sanatis, a Latin word that meant, the cured. It was then that anyone who had received the cure was thrown out, left to become food for the Sanatis or become one themselves.
It was then, as the world was falling into ruin, that my father built our sanctuary. He knew that one day the Sanatis could become smart enough to get past mere locked doors so he used all the metal he could find and covered our entire house with it. He made special locks for the doors that could only be unlocked from the inside and he stole cameras and installed them around the outside of the house so we could see what the Sanatis were doing. Every night he would stay awake and watch as the monsters circled our house, scratching at the metal, dying to get inside so they could rip my family to pieces. I would stay with him and stay awake as long as I could. Sometimes, even my mother would come in and watch with us, but she never liked it.
One night, she didn't come home in time. My poor, poor father waited as long as he could, but she never showed, and he was forced to lock the doors and watch from the cameras. Ten minutes after he had locked up everything I remembered seeing my mother appearing on the camera screen. I pulled on my father's sleeve and pointed at the screen, he looked for a moment and then turned away. Being only seven I didn't understand what was about to happen, I watched the screen intently, waiting for my mother to open the door and come in, but she didn't. Instead I wanted as the Sanatis closed in on my mother, I pulled my father's sleeve again and begged him to open the doors and let her in, but he had just ignored me. It was then that I watched as the monsters that had once been human ripped into my mother, devouring every part of her, and tearing her away from me forever.
It had taken me a long time to forgive my father after that, but eventually I understood why he had done it, to keep me safe. When I had turned ten, I began to blame myself. It was my fault she was dead, if I didn't exist my father would have let her in, knowing he had nothing else to protect, but instead he had me, Juniper Young. At first I had felt suicidal, I felt as though I had to give up my own life to make up for my mother's death, but then I just felt…numb. That was how I grew up, never allowed to leave the sanctuary of our home, eating only when the hunger was too much to bear, and having no emotional attachments to anything other than my father, that is, until my sixteenth birthday.
That was the year I was finally let out of the house.
"Are you sure that this is what you want to do?" he asked as I stood with my hand on the doorknob. I wanted so badly to say that it wasn't what I wanted and return to the comfort that was my home, but I knew that I would just regret it. I needed to do this, I could feel it deep inside of me. I needed to go outside.
Taking a deep breathe I addressed my father, "I'm positive. Besides, I'll be home before the sun even starts to set." I faked a smile just for good measure. He just stared at me for a moment, watching my eyes for any signs of wavering, but I wouldn't let him win this one.
"Fine, fine, you're an adult now, you can make your own decisions, just please, please be home before it gets dark," he begged, grabbing my in a monster hug. I hugged him back, wishing that I didn't crave the unknown, wishing that I could just stay in my father's arms, but that's not the way things worked. I was meant to go out that day, and that's exactly what I did.
Once he had let go of me I grabbed the doorknob and, without hesitating, opened it.
At first the sunlight was blinding, but after my eyes had adjusted I began to scan everything. Never before had I seen anything so beautiful. The grass was so green and it looked so soft and it made me want to take off my shoes and run through it, the trees looked so…alive. They were so connected to everything and yet they seemed to be reaching for the clouds, which brings me to the sky. Never before had I felt so close and yet far away from something and it was so blue. Giant fluffy cloud dotted the blue surface, looking like something out of one of my fairy tale stories.
Before I had even noticed, I had walked out into the yard, bumping into a piece of debris. That was when I noticed the destruction that the Sanatis had caused. There were pieces of trash and splatters of blood everywhere. It marred what, to me, was a perfect world. I could already feel my eyes begin to tear up, I had always been sensitive about things. I began to weave my way through the yard and into the road. That was where I stood and took my first real deep breathe of fresh air.
I could see other people, scurrying around the trees, looking for food. It made me realize how lucky I was, that my father had been prepared and we had a good stock of food in our basement. He also had clothes for both of us and soap to keep us clean. In all honesty we were all set for the rest of our lives, we would've never had to leave that house, and yet, I had wanted to, all my life. My father never really understood why I felt the way, he had just hoped that I would grow out of it.
Some people stopped and stared as I walked by, their faces streaked with dirt and their clothes in tatters. They probably believed I was an illusion, created by their broken minds to remind them of what life used to be like. I just ignored them, focusing only on the beauty. I didn't think my father would ever let me out of the house again after the first time so I only wanted to remember the good.
Unfortunately, in the world I lived in there was very little beauty. Every now and then I would stop to stare at something new, something that I had never seen before. I would stop for things like, old newspapers, sculptures, or even graffiti. I even picked up a couple pieces of rubble from old buildings, I would always wonder what it had once been, what it had once looked like. I would even wonder what had happened to the people that had worked or lived in the building, did they become Sanatis or were they one of scavengers?
Unanswered questions, they used to be the foundation of my life.
I continued to walk until I reached an empty playground. I began to see certain images of myself when I was younger swinging on the swings an climbing on the jungle gym, I wondered if I had ever had the chance to play at a playground like this one. What had I missed out on? Who would I have been if the Sanatis weren't around? I wanted to think that I would have been the same, that way I wouldn't feel like I genuinely missed out on anything. I wanted to continue thinking of the world the way my father thought of it, as a place full of misery and fear.
As I stood at the edge of the playground I felt the sudden urge to go and touch one of the swings, so I walked over, taking off my shoes as I went. I wanted to be able to experience all of the outside world, from the air around me to the ground below my feet. At first it was just a simple touch, but then, without thinking, I sat down in the seat, feeling an odd feeling of weightlessness. I sat there, enjoying the world around me, letting my feet dangle below me, if I tried I could've touched the ground, but only with my toes.
Once again without thinking, I began to push myself with my toes. I smiled to myself, pushing harder. Soon I wasn't even able to touch the ground anymore, that was when I began to pump my legs, going only by instinct, I even began to lean with my legs, forcing myself to go higher and higher. I even let out my first real laugh, in almost four years. It was amazing. Never before had I felt so alive. Closing my eyes I wished that this moment could last forever.
Then I heard the sound of leaves rustling. My eyes snapped open, and the first thing I noticed was that the sun was going down. The Sanatis were coming out. My heart thudded in my chest as I dug my heels into the ground to stop myself. I winced at the feeling of my muscles straining to slow myself down. I wasn't used to having to push myself, my father had never let me. The rustling grew louder, causing my breathing to speed up. I needed to get out of there and get home. I cast a glance at the sun, was it me or was the sky growing darker?
I glanced around me and , seeing nothing, I bolted, heading in the direction of my house. I knew what would happen if I didn't make it back to the house in time, father would lock me out and leave me for the Sanatis. It was a risk I knew I was going to take when I left the house, but at the time I didn't realize that I would get so distracted, now I regretted it. I regretted trying to live.
A sudden noise made my blood run cold. It was the sound of footsteps close behind me. I my eyes darted towards the sky again, this time it was defiantly darker. Too afraid to look back, I continued to run, praying that I would be able to make it home in time. That was when I heard the one thing that scared me more than anything. The screech of a Sanatis. They had started the hunt, and I was stuck, out in the open.
Tears began to fall from my eyes, this was it. All I had ever wanted was to be free and the second I was, I was going to die. Just like Mom. The screech sounded again, only this time it was closer. Beginning to panic, I darted for cover only to find myself in an alley with no way out. I was trapped and the Sanatis were right behind me. I clawed at the brick wall, wishing I had the strength to climb it, but instead I was stuck. I turned around, pressing myself as close to the wall as possible. That's when I saw them.
There eyes were completely white, black fluid leaked from their mouths, their skin had a yellowish tint to it and their smell was like rotting flesh. I had to resist the urge to puke the moment I saw them. They were just so sickening, and now I was going to be their dinner. I tried to pump my legs harder, faster, but they continued to gain ground, and more of them continued to appear. It wouldn't be long until I would be surrounded. I was going to die, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Without thinking, I turned a corner and saw the one thing that I had never wanted to see, a brick wall. I was trapped. I pounded my fists against the wall in a futile attempt to free myself, but it was no use, so I turned and faced what would have been, my death.