The outbreak began suddenly and it spread faster than a fire, but our story begins two weeks before. The first time John met Anna was where most horror stories begin, at a high school party.
Imagine John's surprise when a freshman, tears shining in her eyes, stumbled out onto the porch where he was sitting.
Now, Anna wasn't hot. She was cute, with potential to be more and time to get there. She was short and maybe a little pudgy, with the smallest hint of curves and baby fat still clinging to her upper arms and neck. Thanks to a Hispanic mother, her skin had a small glow to it at all times. Her nose was longish, her mouth was smallish, and her abnormally colored and large eyes took a distinct spot on her face. Her hair was cut short and curly and strawberry blond.
And she stopped immediately when she saw him. John was sitting In the middle of the screened in porch, hunched over his smartphone and rocking slowly in an old rocking chair. She knew of John. He didn't know she existed. He was the hot upperclassman that was good at everything. He was taking all AP classes, he was the lead in the school musical, and he was on the swim team with her.
John was undeniably attractive. He had swirling hazel eyes and thick lips. His hair was cut close to his head, and it was a rich chocolate brown color. He knew he was attractive, but not in a bad way. In fact, he resented it. He could never hold a meaningful conversation with any human being with a pair of boobs. So, John was thankful for his nose. It was narrow at the bridge and broad as it neared his nostrils. It hooked a little bit, and it was the only thing that prevented him from being the most attractive boy in the high school.
Still, he came close.
Anna stood there and he looked up. his eyes met hers.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, stumbling over each syllable. "I'll just.."
"No," John exclaimed. Suddenly the thought of being alone terrified him more than anything. "You're fine."
The younger girl looked very uncomfortable. "No, really, I should-"
Her voice trailed off and she reached for the door handle, ready to put on a smile and endure the pounding music and the hazy air.
"What's wrong?" He asked. She shook her head.
"Nothing. Nothing is wrong." She whispered, and the silence that followed was enough of a clue that neither of them quite believed it.
"You're on the swim team?" It was a question but it came out like a statement. John recognized her in an instant. Once he placed her cute face, he felt guilty for not acknowledging her sooner.
Maybe it was the guilt that Anna knew he felt, or maybe it was the fact that he knew who she was, but suddenly the words started spilling out.
It was her first high school party. Her first beer. Her first cigarette. Her first break up.
Little did Anna know, that by telling all this to a boy who might as well be a stranger, she was saving her own life.