The Bio Dome... Chapeter 1

January 26, 2010
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It all started with the cold. Nobody took it seriously because it was such a common sickness, but what was unknown was that without treatment, the “common cold” is as deadly as a loaded rifle. Okay, so that might be a little dramatic, but it was partially true. At the start of the 21st century, calcium levels in the ocean gradually increased, causing a reaction with the “cold” particles creating an entirely new disease. This disease at first was very treatable but remained somewhat inconspicuous by masquerading as other viruses. We call this new disease “Hydrochloric syndrome”, or HCS. Nobody quite understands it, and right now it’s infecting my entire world. HCS not only kills you, but it gives no warning when it will strike. The average HCS victim is dead before he has real symptoms. This virus has been predicted to inflict devastation 10 times worse than epidemics such as the Spanish Influenza and the Black Death. The whole nation is in panic but the government has a plan.
My name is Sam Carson and I’m 16 years old. I live in Riverton, Virginia with my parents and cousin, Violet. My father is a scientist who works with doctors to help find a cure for HCS, and my mom is a writer who, at the moment (I think), is working on a children’s story. Violet and I both attend Loudoun Valley High School, which has to be the most overcrowded dump of an institution imaginable. I’m about to tell you what happened to us, this is our story.

It might sound cliché, but the morning it happened was just like any other morning. I walked down stairs to the smell of omelets being fried and the morning news playing from the living room; it was the same as always. As I was sitting down my mom said, “Sam, your father will be working late tonight so use your key to get in the house when you get home this afternoon.” I rolled my eyes, my mother was so paranoid. If a robber ever did wander into our house he’d probably leave five minutes later with our most valuable possession, which just happened to be a toaster. After a quick breakfast (and the remainder of a geometry assignment) Violet and I left for school.

When we were on our way Violet said, “Did you notice anything weird with Dad? He looked really down, I wonder if there’s a problem at work and that’s why he has to stay late.”

“. Hmm… I don’t think so, you shouldn’t worry about it, I bet he’s just behind on a report or something. He’ll be alright,”
For the remainder of the drive we talked about petty school things unaware of the crisis that would ensue in mere hours. As Violet and I started for class, I thought about what she said in the car and in retrospect he did look a little pale. First block went surprisingly smooth, I had forgotten we had a Geometry test but Violet “accidentally” forgot to cover her paper leaving her highly legible and correct answers visible for me to copy. I know it’s not exactly “the right thing to do,” but when am I going to need to know how to prove the Law of Cosines in the real world? So when the bell rang to switch classes, I didn’t feel guilty at all about the A+ I was sure to get ( Violet ’s a math whiz). With that happy thought in mind I walked with her to gym class. Gym was one of the only classes I genuinely enjoyed, even though I wasn’t the best at everything Violet and I both are very competitive. I’m fairly tall with broad shoulders, dark grey eyes, and thick brown hair. I play tennis on the school’s team but everyone says I should play football. Not likely, I broke my arm on the night of my first football practice and I’m not keen to try playing anytime soon. Violet is somewhat tall for a girl, with dark blue eyes and brown hair a shade lighter than mine. She’s an athletic kid I guess but she’s so ambitious she doesn’t stick with just one activity. Today we were playing soccer on one of the fields in the back with another class; it was a crisp day, the dew still clinging to the blades of grass. We were divided into teams and started playing. We had been only been playing five minutes, with no real action when it happened. A siren sounding much like a fire alarm blared throughout the school, only this siren had a very different meaning. The HCS alarms had been installed at the beginning of the year when the disease was first discovered. Everyone knew HCS was a big deal, but no cases had been confirmed in the United States that anyone knew of, until now. That bell indicated a HCS case had been confirmed positive somewhere in the state, and in every school in Virginia the same siren was blasting, causing panic to rush into everyone who herd its shrill death call. We were ushered inside the building for an emergency assembly where the school’s faculty told us we were being kept a few extra hours so the local hospital could test us all for HCS symptoms. The only thing I could think when I waited my turn to be examined was, thank god I don’t have the sniffles. In the past two hours I had seen at least two dozen students escorted out of the school because they sneezed or coughed, it was ridiculous. I’m not sure what happened to those kids but I made a mental note to steer clear of coughing and sneezing. When we finally got home dad called us all into the living room, it was nearly seven. The TV was on in the background covering the HCS epidemic with “full coverage”. Mom turned it off looking somber. For the next hour our parents told us what we needed to do while this HCS business was going on. We were not to leave the house, treat open wounds immediately, and refrain from any action that would cause our immune system to weaken. It would’ve been comical if their faces weren’t so grave. That night I was lying in bed not able to sleep. I just got done with some homework, it sickens me I’m so bored I ‘m reduced to doing homework, but what else is there to do? I turned over on my bed thinking of what had happened this afternoon. After the talk with my mom and dad, Violet and I sat on the sofa and watched the headlines with a depressed feeling. We watched news reporters in white radiation suits gesturing towards a burning house. It reminded me of one of those apocalyptic action movies except this is real. An entire family in Kansas was in body bags. Their lives claimed by the virus that they were oblivious to. The victim’s small house smoldered in the background, it was burned in a desperate attempt to prevent the disease from spreading. (Medieval don’t you think?) Anyways it didn’t work. I could only stare at the sad images of a family’s home burning to the ground. I gave a small start when I heard the door squeak open, relieved I saw my cousin’s shadow in the doorway. Couldn’t sleep? I asked. Violet shook her head and came in the room. Her eyes were red from crying and I couldn’t think of what to do to make her feel better. I’m not the most sensitive guy in the world, and there was a second where I wasn’t sure what to say. Violet had had a rough past and she was prone to depression. When she was eight years old her parents died in a car accident, and she had nowhere to go. My family was glad to take her in and I’ve become a sort of big brother to her, (Even though technically she’s three months older than me.) After thinking a second of a way to cheer her up I walked over to my closet and pulled out Monopoly. Monopoly got Violet through some hard days after the accident. We used to play it for hours as kids and I thought it would calm her down. I saw a small smile spread across her face and a small nod, we played all night. Around three in the morning after the game had slowed down, she looked me in the eyes and said “were going to die aren’t we?” “I looked at her sad face and replied” Not a chance, I’ll make sure”. And in that moment I believed myself, I believed that with just sheer willpower I could save our lives. Violet’s expression didn’t change but her eyes began to droop as she slipped off into darkness.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

george said...
Feb. 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm
This was great! It had spelling mistakes no doubt, but the content was very good. Keep it up!
KK2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm
That was one HUGE chapter. could you perhaps split it into more? it would be a ton more readable
gsjo894 replied...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm
Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate the feed back. And yeah, haha i didn't realize how long it was until i posted it. Thanks for reading it.
gsjo894 said...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm
I'm going to post the next chapter in a few days. But i haven't gotten any comments so i might end up not putting anything else up. Comments are much appreciated!
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