“It was a pitch black night when Jeremy went to the frozen storage room and picked out the person he would pretend to drive to the factory. He was strolling through the room when he saw a boy that looked perfect for this job.”
It was a pitch black night when Jeremy went to the frozen storage room and picked out the person he would pretend to drive to the factory. He was strolling through the room when he saw a boy that looked perfect for this job. Jeremy looked at the nametag. James Park. He opened the tube of ice and wheeled out a frozen version of him. Jeremy began to cough. The Virus was getting to him. The Virus is too strong, Victoria is crazy, and she’s going to make everybody else pay for it, thought the short man. He looked at his wrist phone and was astonished at what destruction the Virus has caused. Earthquakes and tsunamis everywhere and people dying twice as fast. “We have to stop this.”
I woke up in the trunk of a car. It was pitch black and had a strong smell of gasoline. My stomach rumbled, and I remembered that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. Then I remembered that I had no clue what time it was. I tried to move my hand to access my watch, and I felt a strong rope keeping my hands tied. I tried wiggling around, and I accidentally broke an object. A thick liquid ran down my hand, and I felt a piece of glass cut my hand. A loud curse came through the thin divider, and the wheels pulled the car over and squealed to a stop. They must have heard the glass break, I thought scaredly. A door slammed shut, and a person wandered to the trunk and opened it. The first thing I felt was the sun burning my eyes like fire was let loose in my retinas.
“Get up,” said the mysterious man.
The man was a stout little man with bushy eyebrows and a bushy mustache. He had almost no hair, and he was wearing a dirty business suit. I groaned and sat up. Immediately, my vision doubled, and I gagged.
“Hope you can walk a couple miles, son,” said the man. “You have ten minutes, and here is your lunch,” the man told me.
Then, he put two slices of bread and a piece of cheese in my hands. As the man walked away, I could hear him grumbling about breaking something. When I began to eat the sandwich, I remembered that my hands were tied, and I would certainly drop it. Then, I remembered the shard of broken glass that cut my hand. So, I reached into the trunk and brought a piece of glass out. I started to very slowly cut the bonds on my wrists. Just then, the man appeared again.
“What are you doing?” the man asked.
“Trying to eat my lunch,” I said.
“We have to go now! We are on a tight schedule,” said the man.
Before I was done with cutting through my bonds, he took the food out of my hands and placed four green bottles with a syrup-like liquid inside into my open hands.
“I can’t believe you broke the other bottle!” shouted the angry man. It seemed that his mood changed every minute. “Follow me,” said the man.
I now realized that his name was on a tag right above his heart. Jeremey. He began to walk, and I began to follow him. I now saw that we were in some sort of desert or plain. We began to follow a trail marked by stones that eventually led us to a weathered building. It was small and grey, and when we entered it, Jeremy shoved me towards a man in a pearl white lab coat. The doctor showed me to a room and laid me down on a bed.
“We want all of our patients to feel comfortable when we do our exams.”
I stiffened with terror, readying for the pain. Then, he injected a needle into my vein, and I neither heard nor saw anything more.
I awoke to Jeremy and the doctor talking in hushed voices in the back of the room.
“The antidote works!” shouted the doctor.
“Shhhh. Mike, are you sure you want to put him in the testing system?” whispered Jeremy.
“Yes! Seventeen years old when we froze him, six feet tall, muscular, and very healthy,” said Mike the doctor.
“Fine! But, if you fail me, you know what the boss will do,” said Jeremy. “Look at what he did.” Then, the little man pointed to the broken bottle.
“I know. I’ll wake him up, and you two can be on your way.” Then, the doctor took out the needle, and I yelped in pain. Blood was dripping down my arm. Mike put a bandage on my cut and sent me out of the room.
Jeremy beckoned to me outside, and I went to meet him. “See this truck here? Get into the passenger seat and buckle in. It should be about an hour before we get to the factory.”
On that note, we both got into the car, and he started up the engine. Inside the black truck, the upholstery was in ruins and the radio was on the fritz. Once the tire treads caught the rough ground, we were on our way.
The hour getting to the factory was the worst hour of my life. It was one hundred degrees outside, and there was no air conditioning, not that that would of helped. There was no breeze, and the ride was super bumpy. Because I didn’t have lunch, I was more starved than ever. When we pulled into the blank concrete parking lot, the smell of food wafted towards me, and I almost fainted from hunger. When I recovered, I opened the door to the truck and bolted out like I was running from a monster. Before I could enter the building, Jeremy grabbed my shoulder and led me towards another building. This next one was in slightly better shape than the last. He led me inside the building and into room 236.
“This is your room. Your uniform is on the bed, your food tray is on the desk, and the bathroom is down the hall. Change, I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
When he left, I changed and dug into the food he gave me. Mashed potatoes and steak. I immediately felt better. I heard a knock on the door. I opened it, and Jeremy came in.
“Time to meet your work mates!”
I followed Jeremy to a door labeled Work Area.
“Here is the key. You’ll be working here every day until you are ready for the field, like me. I know you have a lot of questions, but they will all be answered soon enough.” Then, Jeremy unlocked the door and gave the key to me. He shut the door and led me to another door. “There is an airborne antidote in here just to make sure you don’t contaminate everything inside.”
I nodded my head, pretending to know what was happening. He opened the second door, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were people in lab coats everywhere. Big forklifts were carrying hundreds of tiny green bottles. Conveyor belts were dispersing the bottles to little cubes. It was like everybody here was working in harmony.
Jeremy showed me to a cube in the far left corner and said, “Here is where you will work. Go inside and talk to Robert and Charlotte, they are the leaders of this cube.”
So, I went inside the cube and asked where Robert and Charlotte are. A woman named Caroline showed me to a room with many people in it. I opened the door and two thirty-year-old people welcomed me in.
“Hi, I’m Rob, and this is Charlotte. I’ll show you around and tell you all about Storm. Come on!” I followed Rob to what looked like a laboratory. “This is where you will work creating and improving the antidote.”
“Why do we need to have an antidote?” I said.
“What’s the Virus?” I asked.
“It’s the thing that has been destroying the world. The thing that is making everybody braindead. The thing that is causing the world to collapse.”
Then, Rob brought out a chart and started to teach me about what has happened since I was taken from my home to join Storm. He told me that the bottles in the car were antidotes to the virus, that Storm was founded by people who knew about the Virus, that the Virus is man made and was accidentally let loose, that the virus was for research purposes, and that the Earth is going through many tsunamis and earthquakes, which led to the Virus being released. He told me about the mission the company Storm has, which is to stop these natural disasters and the Virus. Then, before I could process all of this information, Rob led me to a little cubicle with a bunch of tools and empty glass beakers.
“And the reason Jeremy was mean to you, was because he didn’t want to rock the boat. Now, I will show you how to work everything here, and you’ll be on your way to saving the world!”
So, Rob showed me how to inject the antidote and use the subatomic microscope, and how to change the antidote. He led me back to my station and said to pack up, and when I’m done, to go to Jeremy in the office to become certified. Then if I need him, I can reach him in Room 254.
“What does being certified mean?” I asked Rob, but he was already gone.
When I was done packing up my limited things, I headed out the door, and I followed the signs to the office. Right. Left. Right. Left. I caught a glimpse of a door that said Office, and I entered it. Jeremy was in there, and I followed him to a quarantine room with people already in it. They laid it down and started to take my temperature. Then, they injected more antidote in me and another substance which missed my vein but, they didn’t seem to notice. They sent me out of the room very quickly, like they had to do something else. I went to the person at the desk, and I gave them my name so I could be in the system. James Park. They sent me to my room, and I thought about what happened. Everything went by so quickly it was hard to recall anything about it. I was so tired that I fell onto my bed and closed my eyes. Before I fell asleep, something crossed my mind. Something was definitely up.
The next morning, I went to my cube to do work because I had the morning shift. Work was actually very boring. All you did was slightly change the formula, inject into a test subject, and sit down and analyze the data. Rob and Charlotte were never there, so half the time I didn’t know what I was doing. You would think saving the world would be awesome, but it is very dull, unless you are in the field. When work was over, I went to the first building for lunch. Taco day. Because I was not starved, the food didn’t taste as good. After the tacos in the lunchroom, I went to the breakroom to spend the rest of the day because my shift was over. The break room was filled with air hockey, foosball, cards, and board games. There were no televisions anywhere. Spending five hours here would be a nightmare.
The first hour or two was spent doing almost nothing. I don’t know anybody here, so board games and card games were off the table. I also had no experience in foosball and the air hockey table wasn’t working. No television wasn’t the worst of it. There was not one library anywhere in the entire place. In school, I was the bookworm. A pluses in everything, part of the drama club, and not one sport, except for swimming. Once the third hour started, I went back to my room to take a nap. I now realized that the bed was stiff and the room was very cold. It was harder to take a nap than the first night. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamt about my family, out in the world without me. Then something hit me. I had to escape.
I decided I would do it during dinner, when everybody would be gone. Then I would sneak into the work area and steal some of the antidote to save my family. Dinner was in thirty minutes. I started to gather my stuff. Clothes, leftover food for the journey, key to the cube, and the family picture I forgot I had. It had me, my older sister, my younger sister, my mom, and my dad. It also reminded me of the reason I was breaking out of here. I knew it was dangerous, but I couldn’t stand the thought of letting my family die. I started to quietly cry. I knew that if I didn’t get to my family in time, I would never see them again.
Finally, it was dinner time. Everyone would be gone from work until the night shift. I quietly opened my door and slipped down the hallway. I pulled out the key from my pocket and opened the door. I went in the quarantine room to find that the door was locked. I pushed and pushed on the door. I kicked it and tried to force it open. The antidote was my family’s only hope. Then I remembered something about Rob being in Room 254 and that I could reach him if I needed anything. Right now I need the key to the work area. So, I went back out into the hallway and went into Room 254. Surprisingly, Rob left his door open on his way to dinner. It was almost like he knew I needed to break in. I went straight to his bedside table and grabbed his key. I closed the door to his room and dashed back to the work area. I went back into the quarantine area and opened the door with Rob’s keys. I quickly closed the door and entered the big room. It’s grandeur still surprised me. I went over to the storage cell and grabbed three bottles of regular antidote. Then I went over to my cube and went into my pockets for the keys. When I was pulling out the keys, I suddenly stopped. I realized that I was not only leaving for my family. I was leaving for a better life. I was leaving because there was no pay, because the cheese was horrible, and what I was about to find out, because they were brainwashing minds, and because they were the ones to release the Virus.
I now hurried to unlock the door with a newfound urgency. I opened the door and tiptoed in. I could hear voices in the meeting room in the back, very close to my desk. What are Robert and Charlotte doing here? I thought to myself.
“Victoria, are you sure we shouldn’t keep an eye on the new kid? He is not acting like the rest of them. I think he wasn’t brainwashed properly. He is going to be the downfall of the experiment!” yelled Charlotte.
“Charlotte, this has been going on for seven years! One puny little bookworm won’t stop us!” Then, Victoria laughed maniacally, sending shivers down my spine.
I now wanted to get out as fast as possible. I can’t believe that this has been a hoax the whole time. And that I am twenty-four! I completely missed college! I screamed inside me. I snapped out of it and grabbed what I had been working on. I special antidote that will destroy the Virus at its core. “Good thing I made a couple different bottles. I can use some for me and my family, and the extra to shutdown the machine making the Virus. As I tried to pick up all of the bottles, one of them fell and broke. The sound brought out three people I never want to see again.
“You are that receptionist at the cube, Caroline!” I suddenly realized.
“Yes, James, yes. Why don’t you come with me, and we can explain everything,” said Victoria softly.
I struggled to refuse the offer. My head began to swim. “No!”
She began to lunge at me, and Robert and Charlotte blocked the exit. I grabbed a syringe and the bottles and slid underneath Victoria. I got up and put the syringe in Charlotte’s arm. She fell to the floor, and Robert went to help her up.
“Thanks,” I said to Robert.
He looked at me confused. I slid out the door and moved some boxes so that they couldn’t get out. I went out both doors and went down the hall and out the door that I came in only a day ago. It seemed like a century. As I went outside, I knew that I would never see this place again. As I went down the road in the rundown truck I came in, I realized that the Virus was still going. So, I turned around and went into the only building I had never gone to. The one all the way to the left. I went down the road and stopped in the parking lot. I got out and started to crouch and sneak around. I opened the door and saw test tubes everywhere and five giant machines and Victoria at the other end.
“You are too late. You can’t shut it down. At first Storm was meant to help the human race, but now, Storm is creating chaos and destroying the world. Everybody is selfish, and they are taking up the world’s resources. The world’s population is going up by the millions.” Then, Victoria laughed maniacally and pressed a button on the side of the wall, and all the doors and windows closed and became locked. The place was on lockdown.
I started to run. I ran around the machines and dropped in the special serums. Immediately, they started to shut down and reverse directions.
“No! No! NO! You ruined everything! Now they are realizing the antidote!” yelled Victoria.
Then, Jeremy and Rob busted in through the door in the truck and told me to hop in.
“I owe it to you. Especially since I was so mean to you,” said Jeremy.
“And me, because I was such a bad mentor, and I didn’t support the decision to go bad, but majority rules.” Rob gave me a quick smile.
“Anyway, hop in. Victoria is coming this way. We can hold her off. Good luck! And just so you know, your family lives in San Diego. Right now, we are somewhere in northern New Mexico. Ask for the Park family, in building number 236 in apartment 25A.”
“Thanks for everything,” I said.
Jeremy nodded. Then, he got out of the truck and handed me the keys. I nodded back and sat in the driver seat. I started the engine and went in reverse to the road and went speeding away, with the remains of the Virus behind me.
As I rounded the corner to my building, I think about the time I spent making my journey getting here. From the desert pirates to the food shortages where I had to sneak inside of stores. When I finally figured out how to use the radio, and especially when I found out that Storm had shut down and were exposed for their horrible crimes. Rob and Jeremy got off on a light sentence, but Charlotte and Victoria were exposed as the leaders of the organization. They were pinned with most of the blame, and their sentence was one hundred percent worse than Jeremy’s and Robert’s. The officers inside discovered a serum that had brainwashing effects that had been used on the whole community of Storm. That’s why everybody was okay with no pay and other things. Then, I realized that that was what being certified meant.
As I went underneath the awning of my building, I saw the destruction that the Virus had caused. There was trash on the street, windows were broken, houses were abandoned, people lost their homes, there was no electricity in most buildings, and what I was about to realize, families taken away. I realized that my family must have moved because I don’t remember this new house. My old house was a two story house in the countryside. As I enter the building, the doorman was staring at me quizzically.
“Who are you? This is private property!”
“I am looking for the Park family, in apartment number 25A.”
He looked at me confused and told me that the Park family is gone, and that Storm took them to help stop everything has been happening. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I ran outside and got into the truck. I turned it on and zoomed out of the city. I will find my family.