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November 17, 2020

We all smiled as the swallow flew above us, though the gunshot rang loud and we knew it wouldn’t last. The beautiful bird smashed to the floor not far from my feet squealing in terror, we all watched until there was nothing left to see as the bird grew silent. “Back to work”! Officer Clifford shouted whilst holstering his gun back into his trousers. We knew better than to disobey but I couldn’t help being a little disappointed. That was the first bird I’ve seen in weeks, I can only imagine telling Allie when I get home, Oh, how excited she will be. The sun is blazing hot, heat digging at my back like daggers. We are all bunched up and crowded, I can hardly breathe from all the smoke and you would think I would be used to it by now. The factory is not far from the coal mine but still, we dig and dig all day like animals. That's how I’ve always thought about it, we are the animals being herded by the leaders. I despise the leaders, I hate them for what they have done, for what they have made us become. But what am I, a 17-year-old girl suppose to do about it? I’ve always thought the mine smells like burnt popcorn, It’s funny how something so good like popcorn can be so bad. There’s nothing but gravel and coal for miles. Trees, bushes, grass? We haven’t seen anything green for years. No one talks or bothers to make conversation, that’s just how it works. Work, hide, eat, sleep, and try not to get in trouble. Yes, there are a few outbursts here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. The same thing every day. No one complains though, no one can ever complain because they’re not sick. If you get sick… That’s the end. 

It is evening by the time I finish my shift, I swipe my ID card and then catch the train home. I take my seat close to the doors, the train starts to move, all I can think about is coming home and washing. My favorite part of the day. Just me and my thoughts. Just then the doors open and an officer walks in, I can immediately see everyone in the carriage tense up. We’re used to seeing officers but the stories about them are so frightening. Rachel, my best friend, once said that officers came around her neighborhood and took random innocent people from their homes into the Den. The screams were horrible she couldn’t sleep for two nights straight. The Den is where they take all the sick people. The people who are affected by the...were not supposed to say it, it's a terrible disease, The Corona Virus. It is a highly contagious disease and anyone who gets it is likely to die. I was only 10 at the time when it began. The government tried everything but when nothing worked and the spreading wouldn’t stop, taking out more and more people, they created the Den. The Den is a place they keep all the infected. A prison. The Den has slowed the disease down but it’s still out there, moving, breathing, killing. They say people in the Den are happy, safe, and well-fed but everyone knows that’s a lie. No one ever leaves the Den, It’s impossible. It’s covered from head to toe with Guards, locks, and passcodes. Rumors have it, they starve everyone there, the cries can be heard from miles away, of course, no one has ever seen it up close, but Peter, a boy who once went to my school, ‘when there was something called a school’, said it’s like a haunted house. 

The Officer stays on for what feels like an internity yet finally he starts to walk to the exit. I let out a breath, I never knew I was holding but then the most horrible thing happens. The women opposite me sneeze. It's a quiet little sneeze but you can see the terror in her eyes as she realizes what she has done. The officer spins around lightning fast. Everyone in the carriage doesn’t dare move. My heart is beating so fast, I’m afraid it will explode. All I can think is, ‘she’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead’. The officer walks up to her and she immediately falls to her knees. Please, please, I’m sorry, It’s just an allergy, please, I’m not affected, I’m not affected, she sobs. At first, I think he might actually let her go, but I know better, they never do. ‘Any signs of the symptoms must be destroyed, the officer says melancholy. Tears are streaming down her face as she realizes it’s hopeless. The officer grabs her so fiercely and drags her off the train. ‘Please, no not the Den, Not the Den, I have a child’, she cries. ‘I have a child’. Her wails can be heard even after the train moves on, I can’t get her desperate voice out of my head, her screams. They repeat over and over and I soon find I’m shaking. I immediately get myself together, even shaking is a symptom of the virus, even though the officer has left, they're watching, they’re always watching.


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  • November 17, 2020 - 2:46am (Now Viewing)

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  • BlueWolf

    I love this! It is scary when you think about the future being like this. I got very invested in it and couldn't stop. I really enjoyed reading it. I love the end and the creation of the Den. It was an extremely creative piece! Great writing!

    2 months ago
  • lilybeam26

    This piece was beautiful written. I'm not one for writing reviews but your story is elaborate and short, cutting right to the point but with enough back story to keep us interested. I think I was very creative and smart to write of the Corona Virus in the future. I'm also very curious as to who Allie is, maybe you'll do another piece?
    It was nice to read your writing keep up the good work!
    <3 Lauryn <3

    2 months ago