Saving Humanity

December 27, 2012
By GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine


It all started eleven years ago. I was only eight when the Sickness came. No one is sure how it started, only that it killed everyone it came in contact with. No one was spared: not the rich or the poor, not the famous or the commoner, not the politician or the mail man. Death became so vast that people stopped disposing of the bodies because there was too many and no one to bury them.
In a desperate attempt to preserve the human species the American government gathered together and built the Network Arena in the least Infected area of the United States and began to hunt for survivors who weren’t Sick yet. By then I was eleven and orphaned, living off of the land and the forest that surrounded my home. I still don’t know how they even found me, but they came and made sure I wasn’t Sick before taking me away to the Arena where I was given a new home and instantly became highly prized. Out of the five thousand that were saved only seventy-eight were children. We were the last hope for America to continue in some form or fashion.
We were assigned to ‘partners’. Only two people lived in each apartment and we were all given a job. There were doctors, farmers, teachers, scientists, botanists, and every other calling needed to run a successful establishment. For the first few years we all were required to wear full body suits anywhere outside of our personal room and apartment, just to make sure that the Sickness hadn’t somehow crept in. We finally got to take them off by the time I was fourteen. I was ecstatic to finally stuff the stupid thing in the back of my closet, but the others, especially the adults, were not.
The world had to keep moving on. We had to keep building, especially with the odds against us. But people were afraid of mingling, of other people, in case they would get Sick. People wouldn’t report to their posts and the Arena began to fall apart. That’s when the Network came into creation and six years after moving here it became a reality. We run our entire world, talk to everyone, survive without even leaving the comfort of our apartment, with it. We place a helmet on that is attached to the monitors and we control the factories making our clothes, the robots who tend to the animals, and the machines who clean the Arena. We even have online shopping malls where you actually can believe you are in a real live store. You can almost forget that that world is only a cyber one.

By the time I was seventeen, my new ‘mother’ retreated to the Network and hid there…along with everyone else. I tried it, but I missed real people. I missed talking to a person face to face. I missed seeing a smile. I missed hearing laughter- not those stupid ‘LOL’s. I wanted to be with a human not some watered down version looking at me though a screen.
That’s when I started to roam. I started walking along the hallways of the Arena, watching the robots as they swept the floors, washed the windows, delivered the supplies to each apartment each week-all of who were controlled by a human locked away in their room somewhere. Then I went into the courtyard where the pool was, sparkling clear but not a single soul in sight. I sat in the bleachers at the baseball field, but no one was playing. I walked the bike trail. I went inside of the mall. I played a game of pool at the pub. I read a book at the library. I drove an abandoned go-kart on the road. And then…I found the Exit.

Right now I am staring at it. It has been three months since I first found it. The first day I ran from it. Ran as fast as I could back to my apartment and jumped into a hot shower, ripping my clothes off and scrubbing myself so hard that I scraped off the top lair of dead skin completely and had the water up as high as it would run and so hot it scalded me. The entire time I was in there all I could think of was my parents as they died, how their bodies began to thrash into strange positions, their strangled screams, the blood that poured from their ears and noses and mouths, and most of all their eyes… the look in them in the last few moments before death as they realized they was no hope for them. I’m not sure how long I stood under the water before I stumbled out and pulled on a pair of clean clothes. I’m not sure how I had broken the vase in the hallway or knocked the rocking chair over in my haste to get to the bathroom to wash the imaginary germs off of me….what I’m most unsure about is how my ‘mother’ didn’t even hear me. How she didn’t notice me crashing through the apartment and the strangled cries I made as I could see my parents re-die inside of my head.

I don’t know why I am here again…maybe for answers or maybe to remember my past life. It had been a good one, a happy one. One where my mother’s arms were always open for me to fall into. One where my father rustles my hair. One where there was someone to notice when I needed a haircut. One where people knew I hated yogurt but loved Jell-O.

I run my hand through my too-long locks and then stuff both hands back into my pockets. The Exit is large, made of solid metal with no handles. Even if I wanted to get out I don’t think it is possible. I am locked here. Trapped under the glass sunroof and encircled by ten foot thick Walls with only one Exit. The very creation made to save me will be my tomb. The very thing made to preserve humanity will destroy it.

I slowly place my palm on the door, jerking it back only once before gently settling on it. The cold metal pierces my skin and makes my heart pound within my chest. It is like an electric shock. Like someone has awoken me. I press my palm harder into it. My breath kicks up a notch and my pulse becomes thundering in my ears. I am not sure if I am scared or excited but I really don’t care, it has been long since I really felt something. Whatever emotion is raging inside me is making me feel alive, something I haven’t felt for two years.

I smile. I can’t help it. I think I even laugh. The first sound I have made since the last time I was here. And it feels wonderful. I slap the door and laugh again, this time louder and it echoes around me. I listen to myself, the way my voice sounds horse from the lack of use and the occasional snort. The noise is so nice that I can’t help but wonder how in the world we had given this up.

“What’s so funny?”

I abruptly stop and turn on my heels to look behind me. A girl with half-curled half-straight brown hair stares at me with a bemused expression. My mouth is hanging open and my eyes are staring disbelievingly at her. She is the first human I have seen in over a year besides my ‘mother’. Is she even real or just a hologram or have I caught the Sickness and am hallucinating?

“Are…you impaired?” she asks concerned. Her voice rings out smoothly and her body is lean and fit, unlike most who spend most of their days in front of their Network all day and have turned fat and weak.

“My…”I swallow, trying to get the roughness out of my voice, “my discovery is what is funny… In a sad way.”

“What did you discover?” she looks at me, meeting my eyes. My ‘mother’ never does that anymore, hasn’t been able to for twenty months now.

“That…we are alive but…humanity is dying. It is…eroding away because people are only communicating with keyboards and screens. That they saved the people but not the persons.” My words sound forced. It feels strange and good at the same time to have a conversation vocally. My ‘mother’ and I hadn’t spoken in fifteen months. She was afraid talking to me would make her Infected. She thought that the air moving from my lips would kill her.

The girl cocks her head and we study each other. I read her body language. There are hard lines in her face, clearly showing the trials she has endured. Her eyes, silvery grey with a thin rim of gold to wrap around her pupil, say nothing gets past her. The way there are scars running up her arms and legs tell that she is a fighter, a survivor. The way she has her hands on her hips, states that she won’t take any crap. The way she bores into me tells me she sees the same things in me.

“I’m Alex.” She steps forward and extends her hand. I stare at it, wondering when the last time was that I made physical contact with someone- especially someone’s hands.
My gaze flickers up to her eyes and I read the challenge there. Daring me to accept her. To let her in, like everyone has forgotten how to. Once again I see my parents- the images in my mind so strong I have to remind myself that they aren’t really here. I see them laughing, holding hands, kissing me goodnight, giving me a piggyback ride , spinning me around, embracing each other- living not existing. Just like we are supposed to. Just like we’ve forgotten how to.

I clasp her hand and feel the pleasant warmth rippling off of her skin. I feel a shimmer run up my arm and I smile again, enjoying the rush of adrenaline that runs through my veins. “I’m Chance.”


The author's comments:
I took a new direction in my writing. Please leave thoughts about it if you like it or where I can improve. C:

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This article has 120 comments.


on Aug. 6 2015 at 10:26 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I also really appreciate the grammar advice and such. It is very useful. :)

on Aug. 6 2015 at 10:24 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Awww, you're making me blush!

on Aug. 6 2015 at 10:23 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thank you, @Beila, for the advice. I totally agree with you. I was waaaayyyy to drawn out haha. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read my work. :)

Beila BRONZE said...
on Feb. 24 2015 at 12:41 am
Beila BRONZE, Palo Alto, California
3 articles 0 photos 519 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain

Yes! This is one of the best character names I have ever come across, delivered with a powerful punch at the end. Overall, I would say that if you do end up extending this piece, you need to work on more show and less tell. The entire first part felt like "Author's Note" instead of the actual begining of a book. I felt like you were just describing to me how you were inspired for this story by "The Hunger Games" or "Wall-E." However, once you introduced actual character action, especially with Alex, you had me engaged and wanting to read more. I am dying to know how this relationship will develop! In short, keep writing, and focus more on developing the action instead of narrating the setting. Well done!

on Feb. 23 2015 at 12:22 pm
CaseyChickenWang SILVER, McDonough,
7 articles 2 photos 89 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No one likes half-jinglers! Jingle all the way!" - Shelley McNeight
"You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate." - GSUMUN

OMG This is SO funny - in a sad way (I guess) but I loved it. The whole metaphor is so perfect and it carries a real, important message about communication in the world today. Very creative and well-written 5/5

on Oct. 23 2014 at 6:34 am
Extraterrestrial SILVER, Singapore, Other
9 articles 4 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it's a plan!"

I have to say, dystopian or sci-fi stories kind of start to sound similar once you've read quite a few of them. However, yours takes on a very fresh and interesting twist. I love the sheer amount of thought and attention you put into creating a background story about the Sickness. I love the little details and the sequence of events leading up to the main character's current position. The mood and atmosphere is positively palpable throughout your story -- there's a sense of desperation and dread in the air, but also anticipation when the main character discovers the Exit. I think you've done a great job with making this future seem sci-fi, yet somewhat believable. It's all too easy to imagine a deadly disease like the Sickness sweeping across the Earth. Consequently, it's also easy to imagine people's lives being taken over by technology, because we can kind of already see that happening today... also, I like the part about people just living online in the Network. It brings about a kind of moral dilemma -- be safe in a life that's not real, or risk the real world and potential death? What's great about your story is that you manage to raise so many questions, even though this piece isn't very long for a sci-fi. Where and how did the Sickness start? How is it transmitted? Who controls the Network? (I confess to possessing a morbid fascination for how, exactly, the Sickness kills people as well.) You have a few minor mistakes scattered here and there -- "...people stopped disposing of the bodies because there was too many" should be "there were too many." And a voice is hoarse, not horse. You also have a few cases of missing commas. Anyway, these are just small mistakes; they don't take away from your story in general. You have great imagery and sentence flow, and a wonderful way of narrating that just pulls the reader into the main character's perspective. So in a nutshell, this is a very thoughtful, enjoyable story. Brilliant job!

on Jul. 10 2014 at 9:44 am
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thank you! :D

on Jul. 9 2014 at 2:46 pm
Bronwyn-Sophronia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
324 articles 10 photos 1164 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks

I completely adore this! I love the way you explained everything so easily without rushing into anything, it sounded like you were telling a story, and I think that's cool. The backstory was a very likely one, and I like how you solved the epidemic by creating The Arena.  I truly enjoyed this piece, and I hope you continue it. :)

on Apr. 21 2014 at 6:18 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

You just made my day! :) Thank you so much!

on Apr. 21 2014 at 3:37 pm
flamestar BRONZE, Fredericksburg, Virginia
4 articles 0 photos 15 comments
This is so cool. The detail and bit of back story make it very believable. Keep writing it! I would love to see what happenes to Alex and Chance. 

on Feb. 3 2014 at 2:35 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thank you. :)

Alycia. BRONZE said...
on Feb. 3 2014 at 12:41 pm
Alycia. BRONZE, Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania
4 articles 8 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” -- David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Very apocalyptic and dystopian! You should consider turning this piece of work into a novel. I love the imagery and description, and the over all style. Nice job!

on Dec. 28 2013 at 10:31 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thanks for reading.  I will add more detail to the novel.  I really wasn't planning on writing more of this story, but people responded so well to it I am writing it as a novel. Thanks for the feedback! :)

on Dec. 28 2013 at 10:29 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thank you for reading and the feedback! 

on Dec. 28 2013 at 10:29 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thank you! :D

on Dec. 28 2013 at 4:30 pm
Rose_13 PLATINUM, Farmington, New Mexico
40 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you try and teach a fish to climb a tree, it will live it's life forever thinking that it is dumb. ~Albert Einstein

This is great! I really enjoyed it. It's pretty creative, but if you're looking for feedback you might want to explain more about when exactly the sickness came to be and how your parents in the story came to get it and such. Describe more about the deaths of them, and describe how the people came to get you. Just more details in general. But this was really amazing!

on Dec. 28 2013 at 4:19 pm
Myvoice4change SILVER, Other, Other
9 articles 3 photos 167 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

Very good! You write well, and descripe and explain things well. The way you write it also draws the reader in and makes them want to read more! 

on Dec. 27 2013 at 7:19 pm
NaaThompson GOLD, Allston, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you don't like someone's story, write your own. -Chinua Achebe

  Nice work. you are a great writer

on Oct. 19 2013 at 2:17 pm
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Thanks so much!! :D 

on Oct. 18 2013 at 7:22 pm
Calliashi SILVER, Litchfield Park, Arizona
6 articles 0 photos 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
The man with the key is king and honey, you should see me in a crown. ~James Moriarty

This was a fascinating read! You did a great job conveying this strange inconceivablr world in a way that made it believing even if we ourselves couldn't imagine living in it. I was also able to connect with the character very easily which is hard to do. Overall this is a brilliant story and I'd love to read more!


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