The Epidemic

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“You really know the girl that saved the world? “my daughter, Hannah, asked curiously.

“Yes, I did.” I said calmly. “I helped her.”

“So you’re like a superhero?” she shouted.

“I guess…” I said hesitantly. I try being careful not to corrupt the mind of my six year-old daughter by crushing her dreams of castles, heroes, and flying reptiles. As like most parents, I understand that these things aren’t real. But if you opposed them and fictional creatures so strongly, you don’t deserve a child. So I keep my mind and heart wide open, for Hannah.

“Can you tell me?” she asked.

“Tell you what?” I asked, though I knew she wanted to know the story. It was just so long ago and very…painful to think let alone talk about.

“Tell me the story! The story about how you saved the world daddy!” she cried frantically.

“Oh that story!” I laughed, “Ok I guess if you really want to hear it, here it goes. Once upon a time…” This is the place where I get lost in my memories.

Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Jessee. Jessee was an ordinary girl, nothing odd or unusual about her. She went to school, played sports, and had friends and family. But one day Jessee came home from a bad day at school, and had a terrible argument with her parents. The argument upset Jessee so much that she had to escape to the woods near her house to calm down. While she was in the woods, sobbing near a tree, a young girl approached her. The girl looked at Jessee, standing there for what seemed hours. Jessee was the one who broke the everlasting silence.

“Who are you? What are you doing here? You look like you’re nine, nine year-olds shouldn’t be wandering around in the woods. You could easily be killed.”

“My name is Annebelle Miller, I’m eight.” the girl said.

“Well, go home Annebelle Miller. “ Jessee said.

“You can’t tell me what to do.” said Annebelle. Annebelle was a short girl with curly, dark brown hair and glistening golden eyes. Jessee could tell by the way she talked that Annebelle was a very wise eight year-old, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t make out why.

“Well then what do you want to do?” asked Jessee, hoping she could get the girl to leave by using reverse-psychology.

“I want to talk to you.” said Annebelle sweetly.

“Okay…” Jessee was caught off guard, she didn’t know what to do now. She didn’t want to be rude to the little girl but she also didn’t want to stay here and talk. She gave in and the two started talking. They talked about hundreds upon hundreds of things until it got dark out.

“I have to go now,” Jessee said, “it’s getting pretty late. I’ll come back tomorrow, bye.”

“Bye…” whispered Annebelle.

As Jessee left, she could see Annebelle out of the corner of her eye staring at her as she left. She was going to come back tomorrow, but tomorrow was going to be a surprise that she really didn’t want.

“Wait!” screamed Hannah. “What’s the surprise?”

“I’m getting there Hannah.” I said impatiently.

The next day Jessee met Annebelle in the same spot where they met the previous day.

“Good morning.” said Annebelle calmly. She was dressed in the same grey little dress as she was yesterday, and had the same pinned back curls of dark hair.

“Morning…” Jessee grumbled. To Jesse’s surprise Annebelle all of a sudden started talking, even though Jessee tried making clear that she was not a morning person. Jessee smiled a little and started talking with Annebelle. The same thing happened as yesterday, they talked for hours. All of a sudden, in the middle of their discussion, Annebelle fell silent.

“Jessee, I have to tell you something.” she said warily.

“Ok, go on.” Jessee persisted.

“The human population as we know it is going to cease completely if you don’t do something.” Annebelle said with caution. Jessee was frozen in her spot.

“Wh…what? What are you talking about? Why will-wait, how do you know that?” Jessee demanded.

“The same thing almost happened to the human population 146 years ago. After the Civil War an epidemic broke out; one that threatened to kill off all of man-kind. No one knew what it was, how it spread, how it started, or much of what the disease itself was. We named it ‘The Silent Killer’. “

“But, how did it come back?”

“When the best scientists of the generation defeated the disease, they stored it in a cold chamber so if they ever needed it again or if anything like it developed, they’d have it. But someone who shouldn’t have been trusted was curious as to what was in the miniscule glass vial and dropped it.”

“How did they defeat it?”

“They had to dissect humans.”

“Dissect humans?! We don’t have to do that though, right?” Jessee asked frantically.

“Yes, yes you do. The reason is that bodies change and life forms evolve. To be able to destroy the disease again you must have samples of organs from the life forms of this generation of people. Not necessarily the teenage generation though, most likely the subjects will be humans.”


“What?! Oh my God…This cannot be happening. Wait a sec…how do you know of all this?”

“Well, I lived back then. Look, before you say anything I have to explain. I know you’re confused, a 146 year-old girl who looks nine, yeah I know, trust me it happens a lot.” Annebelle waited for a reaction. “Sorry I said that to break the awkward silence that you created...Anyways, I was one of the subjects that they used. The scientists injected me with several special fluids that were supposed to ward off the disease. What the scientists didn’t know was that together, the fluids made me a weird kind of immortal. I’m still human don’t get me wrong, just a human that can never die.”

After a long silence, Jessee and Annebelle made a plan. They would go to Professor Joel’s lab and explain what’s going on. They knew it wasn’t likely that he would believe them, but they would try anyways.

“Daddy! Daddy!” Hannah shouted. “That’s you daddy! You’re Proofesser Joel!”

“Professor Joel, sweetie, but yes that’s me.” I said with a smile.

They talked to the professor about the disease and how Annebelle is 146 years-old and how the world is going to end. After a very long discussion, the professor agreed to help them. He had heard of the strange disease in college and knew exactly what to do. The only problem is that human lives will be lost.

“So we had people who were willing to donate their bodies to science and I did it. I helped the world.”

“Daddy, you can’t stop there!” Hannah cried.

“Well that’s the end of the story. There’s no more to it.” I said calmly.
“Oh…ok, if that’s really all of it.” Hannah said, words leaking with disappointment.
“Now go to bed, we need to be up early tomorrow to go to Grandma’s house.”

“Goodnight Daddy, I love you.” said Hannah.

“Night sweetheart.”

I watched her as she walked off to bed. She’s right, that wasn’t the end of the story. I didn’t tell her how we had to lie to the people we were going to dissect, telling them they would live and nothing major would be wrong with them. I didn’t tell her that I killed exactly 450 people to be able to save the human population. I didn’t tell her that her father is really the largest mass-murderer there has ever been, even though it was to save the world. What I didn’t tell her, what I didn’t tell my wife or friends, is that I have to continue to do it.





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