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The Femmonic Plague
I remember what I had done, how I had felt, and why I had cried myself to sleep with the sorrow from the news I learned when the light of a stifling, new morning was dawning. It was June 3rd, 2050. I remember how I had been confused as to how one’s world can crumble down in a period of just forty-eight hours. And then I realized that I had known the terrible news would come. That I would have had to face the deadly truth sooner or later. That I would have to stay powerless, weak, and vulnerable. That I would have to relent.
I was an intelligent girl of fifteen, who had covert aspirations of becoming a pediatrician (This dream was unapproachable though, because medical occupations were completely replaced by super vaccines). 2050 was the year in which the inferno of Hell had raised to Earth to burn my happiness away. It was the year my mother died. My mother, my best friend’s mother, my neighbor’s mother, and my best friend’s neighbor’s mother, and all the rest of the women in Europe. It was called the Femmonic Plague. It stole the women of Europe and inconsiderately dumped them in their deathbeds. The Femmonic Plague victimized only women. All women. Old women first, then the younger ones. Eleven months ago, all women became infertile. One month after, the any woman with grandchildren had died. Deaths of any mothers ensued in another miserable month. And the deaths were gruesome. Their faces turned a ghastly white as if it was blanched and the eyes became excessively protuberant, as if the eye was actually climbing out of its socket. As they took their last breath, their entire body stiffened, and their eyes never closed, eternally staring. It was torturous to speculate the pathetic death of a Femmonic Plague victim.
The super vaccines had no way of penetrating the virus. The vaccines’ handlers informed us all that the virus was a different version of the bacteria yersinia pestis that had killed a third of Europe about seven hundred years ago. The yersinia pestis that invaded us seven centuries before was highly contagious. The femminia carotis bacteria that caused this plague were not. It assassinated its prey in an organized manner, one-by-one. It victimized its prey in particular groups, such as just grandmothers or mothers. This holocaust could not be prevented or even impeded. It just came, and its victims helplessly waited, frightened and hopeless.
The bacteria had a specific schedule for June: kill all mothers. Next month would be the rest of the continent’s women. It’d be us.
The Femmonic Plague was especially virulent in France. The Femmonic Plague was believed to be caused by a bacterium that was formed in radioactive waste compiled from one of the hundred eighteen working nuclear plants in Civaux. Civaux had happily and fearlessly supported the establishment of fifty-six nuclear plants, thinking that its quiet and rural French village into a bustling tourist attraction from 1973 to 1988. In sixty-two years, sixty-two more had been established. A bacterium had escaped from the pile of radioactive waste in 2049 and quickly took action in 2050. Removing radioactive waste from hundred eighteen plants was impossible, just as determining how to annihilate the virus was.
The Femmonic Plague attacked every woman but didn’t harm a soul of a man’s body. A man was immune to the plague naturally, just like women were vulnerable to it naturally. My mother had fallen victim, but the criminal was not caught, and would mockingly run from place to place for the next six months.
With the advent of the first Friday of July, I had graduated from University of France. (Elementary school learning time was diminished to just four years, junior high was disposed of, and high school was three years. A child would start school at age 3. Graduating from a University took a long period of five years). My dream of becoming a pediatrician had been halted. For now, my main mission was to discover a way for myself and whoever that remained to survive this pandemic.
One month passed. The grandmothers, mothers, and older sisters had died. It was as if we were all committing suicide. We knew exactly how, when, and why we were going to die. Our fatal fate was inevitable.
My best friend Holly was the brightest and most talented girl of our age. She was called a child prodigy, and was recruited to work as a handler of super vaccines at the ripe age of fifteen. She and I had met everyday to try to find a way to get rid of the deadly pestilence. We discussed every aspect, read every textbook on nuclear activity, researched everything about the Black Plague, and answered each others’ curious questions about the current plague. We were both in a hurry; we knew there were only thirty more days to live.
We never solved the case, at least not face-to-face. Holly died exactly twenty-two days after. She died in front of me, as we were in the middle of our research session. We had been discussing femminia carotis, as I later classified it, and which part of the body it was most likely to be attacking to kill it so quickly. Suddenly (I remember everything to this day), her mouth froze, and she stopped talking. She desperately stared at me, trying to move her rigid mouth, trying to communicate, trying to explain the horror she felt. Her face turned extremely pallid and her eyes were halfway out of its socket. Her body grew rigid, and her eyes lifted almost three-fourths out of its socket, and her bulging eyes looked frantically up at me, as she drew her last breath. And then something happened, and what I had investigated would change the fate of more than a million girls in France.
Today is July 15th, 2060. It is the tenth-year anniversary of my best friend’s death. I’m in Civaux’s largest cemetery (mainly due to the Femmonic Plague). I see my reflection on the cleanly cut onyx gravestone of Holly. I silently and desolately cry. The memories of her flood my mind, and I can’t escape her strong hold on my heart. I miss her so much. So much.
But then I remember that she was the reason toddler and infant girls didn’t die in 2050. And then I remember that she was the reason I did not die then too.
What happened on July 15th, 2050, seems so distant. As her dead body but protuberant eyes had stared up into mine, I noticed something, which happened after I sat still crying for several hours. She started to bleed. Tears of red dripped from a cut on her neck. All the other victims had been buried before this could be noticed by anyone. Holly’s blood quickly formed into a deluge. The carotid arteries located in her neck had all burst. The Femmonic Plague bacterium was a substance that severely burst carotid arteries, which supply blood to the eyes and brain. As the arteries on both sides of the neck had burst simultaneously, the brain had been deprived of one of its main blood supplies. The brain grew weak, and couldn’t send or accept any signals from the immune system, the oxygen couldn’t be transported to the brain, and so, the brain shut down. As pressure exerted throughout the body, the body turned white. As the brain stopped to function, every other organ system broke down, and the heart stopped beating. The Femminia carotis bacteria had indirectly attacked the nervous system.
With the discovery of the cause of the Femmonic Plague, men all over Europe sought my plan to prevent the epidemic from harming any more women. The super-advanced vaccines were ignored, and they proved themselves useless. I reached my ambition of becoming a pediatrician, and always thought of Holly, I saved the toddlers and infants, who would’ve died without her. Blood-thinning medications, premier research institutions, and establishments to invent replacements for the damaged carotid arteries were implemented. My best friend and I had saved millions of young children.
The saved were motherless, sisterless, and basically alone. But they had life, and the opportunity to live it.
As I quietly stood up from my sedentary posture, I felt numb. I slowly read her gravestone’s epitaph for the millionth time, which I had written so long ago. It read as follows:
This young woman, who gracefully lies, gave her life
To prevent others from deathly strife.
May her soul live the joy of saving the women of today,
And may she rest in peace, we shall all pray.