After this day, I knew my life would never be the same...
My parents had been infected with the virus. I was all that was left. The virus was silent and no one knew what it was. Other than me. It was deadly and moving quicker and quicker everyday. My home in front of me was caught in the flames of my anger. No one did this but myself. As the yellow and orange soaring high into the sky. I stood motionless with the empty box of matches in the middle of the road. I could feel the heat pushing me away but I needed to say goodbye. Goodbye to my home. Goodbye to my family. Goodbye to everyone but soon the whole world would say hello to me. Hello to the virus.
I dropped the empty box and grabbed my bag off the ground. I turned and ran. I ran quickly through the night without stopping until I got to the plant. The plant was a building where they tested medicines and tried to help cure diseases that kids have. I use to have to stay there until now. In this moment I stood there examining the solid white walls and the windows to every room. I watched the windows which were bare other than a few which had drapes depending on the rank of the child’s family. Knowing I should never have gone back I still took the key card out of my bag and swiped it across the lock. I pulled open the metal door once I heard the ding of satisfaction. I walked down the empty hallway of the living quarters. Once I made it to my old room I stopped. Tears filled my eyes. This was my home. My only place to feel safe.
I slowly stepped into my old home and saw that nothing changed. My drawings still taped on the walls and my blankets spread across the floor so that I could look up at the stars on my ceiling. I layed down on my blankets and closed my eyes hoping everything would go back to how it was. I soon drifted into a soothing slumber. Not long after I awoke to a loud bang of the door closing. I swung my body up and rushed to the door. I fumbled trying to twist the handle only to hear a ting as it was locked on the other side. I had now way out so I made my way back to my resting place and my bag. I slipped my laptop out of the bag and searched the news. As I read the update I knew I had very little time left. I put my computer away and before shutting my small bag I quickly found a small blanket and stuffed it in there. I climbed onto the high window in my small room. I dug my nails into the small opening and used all my strength to push open the window. I kicked out the screen and jumped out of the window. I don’t know who was in the plant but I wasn’t safe there.
I knew there wasn’t long until I was caught. My feet stinging from the jump but I still started running. I was headed towards the news station. I could hear footsteps traveling behind me and growing closer but I didn’t dare look back. I never stopped running but I felt a tug at my arm and I was pulled back. Trying to get loose from the tightening grip I turned around to see who it was. It was a doctor who was fired from the plant for poisoning the medicine.
“Well hello Nevaeh.”
My name rolled off her tongue like a sweet song.
“It’s been so long.”
“Dr. Ezmine. Let go of me!” I yelled violently.
I swung my foot up and kicked her in the shin as hard as I could. She loosened her group and I broke free. I started running until I got to the news station. Ezmine was out of sight. I pulled open the door to the news station and walked in. My mom used to work here and I had been here a million times. I walked over to where the weather lady was broadcasting but I stood behind the camera. I studied how the woman was speaking and standing. I didn’t listen to the words she said but watched her movement. As she finished and the cameras went off to play commercials the lady walked over to me.
“Nevaeh! Are you okay? Why are you here?” She spoke fast and sounded worried.
“Aunt Natalie, I'm sorry to bother you but I was wondering if I could speak on the news today. It's important.” I spoke delicately and quietly hoping she would say yes.
“Only if it's truly important. I don’t want you on there speaking about something that is not urgent or a big deal.” She spoke deeply but in a kind tone. I nodded to her response and smiled.
“Nevaeh, Your on in two minutes.” A producer shouted. My aunt grabbed my hand and pulled me in front of the camera with her. I smiled as the camera started recording.
“Welcome back everyone. Today I have a special guest here to speak to you. This is my niece, Nevaeh.” She spoke in her sweet but strong television voice.
“Hi everyone. I’m here to tell you all something I know. The plant. I was a patient there while Dr Ezmine worked there. She was a great doctor. Until the poison. She put poison in my medicine but it didn’t kill me.” I spoke these words fast and in a sad tone of voice.
“Dr Ezmine is out of jail and she isn’t safe. This is her fault the virus has spread. Please lock your doors and call family to spread the word.”
My aunt was quiet until I was finally done speaking.
“Please listen to her. She knows what she is talking about.”
As the cameras shut off my aunt Natalie hugged me as if she was truly proud of me for speaking up. I saw camera men rushing to lock the doors all around us. I stood next to my aunt motionless as she talked to a tall man in a suit. Once all the doors to the outside were locked I started to breath faster. I walked away from my aunt to find somewhere to sit. I reluctantly found a charcoal couch that had a single throw pillow. I laid myself on the couch use the pillow under my head. As I closed my eyes to think I wished that this could all be over and that I was home with my parents. I opened my eyes and looked around me. My aunt walked over to me a leaned over to whisper to me.
“You are the virus Nevaeh.” She tried to be calm but I could hear the worry in her voice.
“I know. I wanted to leave before you locked all the doors. It’s too late now.” She shook her head disappointed at me. She then grabbed my hand and pulled me up off the couch. We went over and grabbed my bag where I had left it. She put my bag on my back and walked me over to a dark back door in the corner of the room.
“Hide Nevaeh and hurry. Stay safe. I love you.” Tears in her eyes she hugs me.
“I love you too.” Choking back my tears I hug her back until she releases me and opens the door.
The sun flashed into my eyes as I quickly stepped out of building and heard the door shut behind me and lock. There was no turning back now. I tightened the straps on my bag and started running towards the school. As I made my way up the stairs I knew there was no one there. It was dark but safe. I reached for the door and pulled. I felt relief as it opened. I walked slowly and carefully. I made my way to the gym and I would stay there and rest. As I walked down the hallway I soon changed my mind. I quickly turned my body towards the main office and walked quickly. When I got to the office I walked behind the secretary’s empty desk and pressed the lock button for the school doors. I kept the lights off so if someone passed they wouldn’t know I was here. I fell back into the desk chair and relaxed myself. I threw my head back and propped my feet up on the desk. Smiling I picked up the phone and pretended to be the secretary. My laugh began and got uncontrollable as I fell to the floor while holding my sides in pain. Once my laughter calmed I quickly got back into the chair and watched the security cameras. I drifted into a deep sleep of boredom.
“Hurry! She’s breathing! Someone get her to surgery fast!” I was being rushed on a gurney. The smell of disinfectant was all around me. I was being rushed to the emergency room. But how? My last memory was back in the school. I was alone then but not now. A nurse was standing beside me pushing the contraption I was resting on and she looked at me with a nervous smile trying to keep me calm. This was the end for me. I knew it deep down inside. Maybe not. Maybe I could make it out. It’s always a maybe.
“What's your name?” The nurse spoke as we got to a room and as she put me on the bed. I didn’t answer her question because I was afraid of what would happen to me.
“Her name is Nevaeh.” A deep familiar voice came from behind the woman. The voice was crisp but soothing. It reminded me of my brother. The boy stepped out from behind the nurse and revealed himself. Fortunately it was my brother.
“Mateo!” I screamed in joy but felt pain rush over me. I looked down at my side and saw blood rushing out from a hole in my stomach. I fainted from the sight.
“Fortunately, she is okay.” I heard a nurse faintly speak.
“Good! She is all I have left. I can’t lose her now.” My brother spoke with excitement in his voice. As I opened my eyes my brother rushed to my side with a smile from ear to ear. I returned the look of joy right back. I was lucky to have him still.
“She also isn’t sick any longer.” The nurse butted in. I looked down as my brother’s face went from excited to curious.
“What do you mean? She wasn’t sick.” He spoke fast with worry.
“She had some sort of disease caused from medicine in her system. We removed it. It’s okay. No reason to worry.” The nurse spoke with a clean and confident voice. I move to seat myself comfortably on the bed. As I fix myself into a comfy part of the bed pain rushes over my hole body and I freeze.
“Ouch. Why does it hurt?” I can barely speak as pain fills my entire body.
“Your healing from the wound in your side.” Mateo answers me as if he knows everything. It’s just like him to be a smarty pants around people. Mateo sat in the chair next to me with a goofy grin. He kept his eyes locked on me and brushed his hand through his dark hair. Everything seemed like it would be okay as long as I was with him. It seemed almost perfect. Just too good for our bad luck. This couldn't be our ending. It was just too perfect.
“Ei Mateo. Como ela está?” As I heard this sweet soft voice I knew it was Amelia. My brother’s sweet girlfriend walked through the door and hugged me as I stayed on the bed. She smiled at me then looked at my brother. She doesn’t speak very good English although she could understand it. But we all spoke Portuguese so it was okay.
“She is fine.” Mateo spoke happily. As Amelia seated herself in the seat next to Mateo, I laid myself back ignoring the pain. I turned my head to watch as they whispered back and forth to each other quietly. I look out the window and watch the clouds stay motionless. The light fluffy white filling the sky with little specks of light blue peeking out to add color. I kept my eyes at the window as I heard the door to my room open.
“Nevaeh, você e Mateo podem ficar comigo.”Nevaeh, you and Mateo can stay with me. I quickly turned my face to Amelia as she spoke and I saw my brother outside of my room on the phone.
“Thank you Amelia. That’s very kind.”
Amelia’s parents both died in a car accident a few years ago, but she had an apartment because she was twenty. My brother was a year older but still hadn’t moved at but he claims it’s because he didn’t want to leave me behind with our parents.
“O médico disse que pode ir para casa há cerca de uma hora.” The doctor said she can go home about an hour.
This brought joy to my face. I watched out the side of my room as Mateo signed me out of the hospital and came back with a wheel chair. He picked me up out of my bed and put me in the chair.
“Let’s go.” Mateo spoke with a sweet joy in his voice. I had never heard this excitement from him ever before. I smiled and nodded my head in agreement. He pushed my chair out of my room and down the hall. We soon got to Mateo’s black car and he opened the back door.
“Lembre-se da minha casa?” Remember my house?
Amelia smiled as she reminded Mateo. Amelia got in the passenger seat and closed her door slowly as Mateo pulled me out of my new chair. He put me in the seat and I buckled myself. He closed my door and I watched him fold my chair and set it softly in the trunk. He opened the driver door and sat in his seat. I watched as he put the key in the car and started the engine. He buckled himself in unison with Amelia and he then took off. I watched out the window as we drove. The whole ride was silent. We pulled into the parking lot for the apartment complex. Mateo quickly followed the same routine to get me out of the car and pushed my chair quickly to the door to Amelia’s home. Amelia softly opened the door and held it as I entered with her following after us. The soft gray tones looked beautiful with all of the nice blue accents of things like curtains and candles.
“Bem vinda. Minha casa é sua casa.” Welcome. My home is your home.
“Nevaeh you can take the guest room if it’s okay with Amelia.” I smiled with the joy of just getting to sleep in a safe place. Amelia nodded in agreement. “Are you girls hungry?”Amelia knew the one word answer to this question in english. We answered at the same time with a sound of joy in our voice. Of course this made all of us burst into laughter. I was home. I was with family. Our laughter calmed while Amelia and Mateo made their way to the kitchen to cook. I rolled myself down the hall. This wasn’t my first time being here so I knew where my new room was. I made my way to the entry of my room and looked at the beautiful white toned room. I wheeled myself to the side of the bed and ran my hand down the plain comforter. I looked at the all black set of the bed with white sheets and two white pillows. This room was like a hotel. There was a small bathroom that extended off the room so I had my own. I propped myself onto the bed which was a struggle. Although I was starving I was also tired. I fixated myself into a comfortable resting position under the soft blankets. I soon then drifted off into a restless sleep. I woke up to a noise coming from my closet. I saw a silhouette of a person at the closet door hanging brand new clothes with the tags still hanging off of them. I pushed myself into a seated position to see who this was.
“Sorry for waking you Nevaeh.” It was Mateo. “ Amelia and I ran out to the store. I picked you up some new clothes. Just go back to bed. I’m going to bed now goodnight.” I never said a word as Mateo exited the room closing the door behind him. I could feel pain rushing through my body. I laid myself back down and rolled over. Since I couldn’t sleep I laid on my back with my eyes closed. It looked like I was falling into darkness and I would never escape from it. All of a sudden I could feel a warm liquid rushing from my side. I could smell the red blood coming out of my wound. Pain rushed through my whole body faster and faster but I couldn’t move my mouth to call for help. Once I finally got the strength my voice wouldn’t escape from my open mouth. I felt the air get thinner. The air was crisp.
“Mateo! Amelia!” What I thought was a scream escaping from me turned to be only a whisper. I squirmed all over and suddenly fell to the ground with a loud thump. I hear footsteps then come from down the hallway thumping at a fast pace. My bedroom door swings open with force and Mateo stands there with Amelia behind him.
“Oh meu! Nevaeh você está bem?” OOh my! Nevaeh, are you okay? Amelia asks with worry but motionless.
“No she isn’t ok. She’s bleeding. Call the hospital now.”Amelia runs out of the room and calls the hospital. You can faintly hear the worry of her voice while she is on the phone. Mateo stayed with me trying to get me into my chair but I squirmed away from him. He is trying to help but I feel I have no chance either way.
“No. No.” I struggle to get the words out but they escape my mouth just enough for them to make it to Mateo. I start shaking my head with the little energy I had left. My breaths become small and heavy on my lungs. Amelia comes rushing back to the room.
“A ambulância está chegando.” The ambulance is coming. Amelia speaks with sadness and fear in her voice. Mateo’s eyes fill with tears as he is still on his knees next to the bed. I’m only a few feet away but feel so far apart from them both. I breath my very few last breaths.
“I love you Mateo. Eu te amo Amelia.” I love you Amelia. I let the words out of my mouth.
“I love you too baby sis.” Mateo’s words are the last that make it to my brain. I was motionless and breathless now on the floor. I was gone. This was goodbye. Adeus.
I can’t believe she’s gone. In my arms is my restless baby sister. She wasn’t breathing and she wasn’t moving. I could hear the ambulance. As the doctors rushed in and got my sister into the vehicle tears were rushing down my face. I watched as the ambulance drove away. I waited for the flashing lights to fade off before I moved from the window of Nevaeh’s room.
“Vai ficar tudo bem Mateo.” It’s going to be okay Mateo. Amelia’s voice echoed in my mind. She stood at the entrance of the room. I sat on the edge of the bed with a blank expression on my face as tears rolled down my cheeks. Amelia walked over to me and wiped the tears from my face. I raised my head to look at her. She smiled softly at me. I smiled back at her.
“I hope so.” I whispered it to myself but I knew Amelia heard me. “She’s strong.”
“Vamos ao hospital.” Let’s go to the hospital. Amelia spoke with power in her voice. She didn’t wait for me to respond she grabbed my hands and pulled me off of the bed. Still holding onto my one hand she started walking towards the front door. On our way to the door she grabs the keys and Nevaeh’s bag. As we got to the door she turned around and gave me the biggest smile she could. We walk out the door and get to my car.
“Can you drive?” I ask Amelia with puppy dog eyes. She rolled her eyes at me and nodded. I laughed to myself about her eye roll. She was always the best person for me to be with. I always thought she was my always. We got into the car and got ready to leave. Amelia started the car and pulled out of the lot. We drove silently to the hospital other than a quiet sound coming from the radio.
“Mateo vamos passar por isso. Juntos.” Mateo, let’s go through this. Together. Amelia spoke with a kind smile that she always gives. She was my everything but so was my sister. We got out of the car and went into the hospital.
“Hello. Who are you looking for?” The lady at the front desk spoke with joy in her voice like she was trying to lift the spirits of all the people with tears on their face.
“N-n. Um Nevaeh. Nevaeh Carlo.” I stuttered nervous that she would break it to me.
“Well she is um in surgery.” She just got here I thought. How could this be? “She was rushed in and her bleeding was bad. You can wait for her to be out. Who are you?” The lady spoke with kindness and she was very patient with me.
“I’m Mateo Carlo. I’m her brother.” Tears started rolling down my cheeks. The lady frowned at me in concern. She turned away from me and reached for the box of tissues that sat on her desk. When she turned back to me she had a warming smile on her face. She handed me the blue box full of the soft tissues. I reached for the box and could feel the warmth radiate off from her hand.
“Obrigado.” Thank you. Although Amelia had no reason to thank the lady she still did.
“Your welcome. It’s truly not a big deal. I’m here to help.” the lady sat there with a warming expression reminding me of my mother. Amelia led me to the waiting chairs so I could try to relax. As we sat there Amelia sat on her phone. I looked through my young sister’s bag. She had her laptop, a blanket, her notepad, her favorite pen, a key card to the plant and a picture of our family. I grabbed out the picture and looked at the glossy image of our family. I carefully looked at the young woman next to my father. This woman was my aunt. I hadn’t seen her in person in years. As I swipe the picture into my pocket the door swung open. Amelia and I looked straight up to the door to see who was here.
“Mateo! Where is she? Is she okay?” It was my aunt. I had never been this excited to see her. You could see the worry in her expression but you could also see the excitement in her eyes to see me. She walked over to me and pulled me up out of my seat to hug me. I wrapped my arms around her skinny body and felt her warmth hit me. She smelled like sweet fruits fresh out of the garden.
“She is in surgery. She had been shot when they found her yesterday. The wound open so she had to come back now.” I slowly released my aunt but she put me a distance from her with her hands on my shoulder. She looked me up and down checking me. I had white sweats on with a plain white t shirt. My blake slides were covering the logo on my black socks.
“Mateo I have missed you. You’re still so young. You can’t raise your sister on your own.” The doubt in my voice frustrated me.
“I’m an adult now. I can do this. Plus I’m not alone. I have Amelia.” I raised my voice but still kept quiet so I wasn’t yelling.
As I spoke these words Amelia stood up with confidence and was holding my hand. I gave my aunt a look filled with anger. She pulled her hands off from my shoulders and looked at me with hurt in her full face.
“We will see who Nevaeh wants to live with. You both are still too young.” She spoke with confidence and anger in her voice.
“Are you Nevaeh’s family?” A doctor came up to us with concern in his eyes and pain in his voice. We all shook our heads yes to his question. “Well the good news is that she is out of surgery. Bad news is-” The doctor choked up and couldn’t finish his sentence. Tears rolled down his face.
“Um doctor? What happened?” I was already nervous for the news but hearing these words come out of my mouth made me even more concerned.
“She is unfortunately gone. I’m sorry.” The doctor spoke with emotion in his voice but not enough to make me feel safe.
I already missed my sister and our Sunday morning breakfasts. Our bowling nights every other weekend. My sister was my best friend and she was important to me. She was the most important thing to me. Now she was gone. It felt like when you almost win but make it the finish line just a second too late. We all stood in silence as my aunt took the doctor aside to speak to him. I looked up at Amelia and then to Nevaeh’s bag. I quickly grabbed Nevaeh’s bag and ran out the doors. I didn’t stop running. I kept my speed as the rain rushed out of the sky and pounded onto my back and my face. I was drenched before I even got to my target. The rain was refreshing until my clothes started to feel to heavy to keep going. But I didn’t stop. Once I got to the plant I grabbed the key card out of the bag. I slid the card in and I heard the ding of the door unlocking. I hesitated with my hand on the metal bar. I then thought of what news I just got back at the hospital and my body filled with rage. I pulled open the metal door and smiled with anger from ear to ear. If I couldn’t have my sister then I didn’t want to be here anymore. As I walked down the main hall to the back doctor’s office I started to calm myself slowly. I knew this place so well because of Nevaeh. I remember checking her out for hours at a time to take her to her favorite places outside of these walls that held her in like a cage. The smell of sanitizer filled my nose and hurt my head. Once I finally reached the office I pushed on the door and even tried to pull but it wouldn’t open. I had no reason not to go with my bad ideas now.
“Just do what it takes Mateo.” I told myself.
I wanted so badly to be with my sister. I the slammed my right fist into the window. The glass shattered and was all across the floor inside and outside of the office. The beautiful noise of the glass breaking made me smile. I felt my hand sting and burn with pain but I just ignored it as the warm red blood flowed down my arm from my knuckles. I reached through the empty space of where the window was and unlocked the door. I pulled open the door then with no effort in it. The knob felt cold against my skin. I walked through the door stepping over the broken glass. I walked to the far back corner of the room. There was a beige cabinet sitting with moisture on the top in a puddle. I pulled at the first cabinet drawer but it didn’t budge. I bent down hearing the small pop of my knees. I pulled at the second drawer and with little effort it pulled open and you could hear the squeaky sound of metal against metal. I pulled out five white containers with worn off labels. I walked over to the fridge on the other side of the room. This fridge was smaller than most but just under my height. I sat the containers on the top of the fridge and swung the door open.
The light turned on and it was still working. I smiled and grabbed out two bottles of water. For some odd reason the fridge smelled like roses but I still closed it. I put the waters on the desk beside me and then turned back and grabbed the containers. I sat the containers next to the waters then seated myself at the soft comfy desk chair. I opened one container without thinking twice and poured over half of the blue pills out onto the table. I then repeated this with two other containers. Now there was an assortment of blue, green, and red pills in front of me. All three colors were different sizes but all of them were round pills.
I then carefully opened the last two containers but didn’t pour out the white and yellow ovals inside of them. I opened both of the cold water bottles and sat there for a moment. I watched as the water was motionless in the bottles. I thought about how no one had found me yet but I had been gone for at least a half hour. No one cares. Why would they? You’re just a young boy. Too young. Too smart to do anything that could harm you. I then grabbed the two containers with each of my hands and poured some of the yellow and white pills out of them into my pile. I had no idea what any of these pills were for but I didn’t care. There was about twenty of each pill. I put my pointer finger on one single white pill. One… Two.. Three… I started counting the pills one by one. Seven…. Eight... Nine…. Ten… I didn’t stop counting the pills until I got each and everyone of them. I put my finger on each one as I counted and slide them over to the right into a new pile. Twenty... Twenty-One…. Twenty-Two…. I felt how each of the colors had a different feeling. Forty-Five… Forty-Six… Forty-Seven… Some of the pills had a glossy touch to them while some had a rough dry feeling. Seventy-One… Seventy-Two….Seventy-Three…. I remembered taking pills like the dry ones as a kid for a headache after football practice. Ninety-Six… Ninety-Seven… Ninety-Eight… I counted the last ones thinking about how my sister used to have to take so many pills every day. Ninety-Nine… One Hundred! I counted the last one with satisfaction on my face.
I put every last one into one of my tan but dirty hands. With my other hand I grabbed one of the open waters. I breathed in and out slowly through my mouth tasting the cool air around me. My heart racing so I could feel every beat throughout my whole body. I poured a quarter of the pills into my mouth and used half of the first bottle to swallow them down. The water felt nice going down my throat. I repeated this. Then again. Then sat a quarter of the pills left in my hand and half of the second water bottle. I took all the pills but one and used all the water but one swallow. I took the smooth red pill in between my pointer and thumb. I stared at this pill as my eyes began to be heavy and fill with tears. It became hard to keep my eyes open and my hands still. I placed my water down on the table and put the pill right next to it. I closed my eyes and sat back into the chair. I laid my arms on the rests on the side of the chair. My hands hung off like how my head hung back. I kept my eyes closed as I felt myself breath for the last time. This breath was crisp and clean. I love you Amelia. My body went numb and I could feel a cool breeze surround my body, inside and out. I felt myself drift off into a never ending sleep. Goodbye to my old life with all of you. Hello to my new life with my baby sister.