I am a freelance writer who simply enjoys writing poetry, amongst other things.
I Swear I Didn't Mean It...
March 3, 2054
I have been on the run for two weeks now. My food supply is scarce, my clothes are torn, I’m missing a shoe, and I’ve developed a rather nasty rash on my backside. I have absolutely no idea as to my location, but I am going to continue on my journey as far up north as I can.. that or I’m taking the next ship out. I have single-handily made myself one of America’s Most Wanted and caused a mass epidemic. Every major law enforcement and government agency is looking for me and I am unsure of how much longer I will be able to elude them. If anyone finds this journal and you don’t get anything out of it, get this... I never meant for any of this to happen. I would never have jeopardized the lives and welfare of my beautiful nation. My only intention was to help. I am merely a scientist who longed to create an elixir meant to stimulate growth and strengthen the immune and nervous system. I have indubitably made a mistake in my measurements and created a disaster and for that I send my deepest most sincere apologies.
Greyson sighed and closed his journal. He was crouching in a small crevice he found by the pure grace of God. Above him he could hear helicopters hovering and the ruffling of all leaves as a team of men raided the forest searching for him. This may very well be the end for him and he knew it. Greyson surveyed his surroundings trying to establish the best means for escape. His chances were slim, but if he stayed low he believed he could make a clean getaway. With a quick prayer he lowered himself, began his trek down into the abyss and began to search for an escape route.
Meanwhile back home...
The town was in the middle of a crisis and the people were panicking. People were falling ill and the doctors were still unable to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment. This was a virus like none other documented in history. There appeared to be three stages to this mysterious virus. In the first stage, one develops severe diarrhea, extreme fever, and hives. In the second stage, one experiences severe dehydration and muscle spasms. The third stage involves a slow, agonizing death due to severe contractions and inevitable paralysis. Many citizens of the town had already started showing symptoms of the first stage and the hospital was becoming corrupt. People were in the waiting room demanding to be seen, throwing up, unconscious, and afraid for their lives.
“Are you getting this?” Sarah Lee, a news reporter for Fox 5 was in the waiting room taking advantage of the potential for a good story. “This just in, live from the Houghtown Hospital waiting room. This epidemic is getting worse and the doctors and nurses are minimal. There appears to be more body bags cast out than healthy patients returning home. Stay tuned for the upcoming tips on how to avoid this virus and combat any symptoms before you too are affected.
“Does she not realize she could be next? Who does she think she is? Prancin’ ‘round here in that skimpy skirt! She needs to gon’ ‘bout her business,” Mrs. Johnson complained from her couch. Mrs. Johnson was deemed the neighborhood’s grandma and was well known for her outstanding health in her 86 years of life. She did not have the slightest bit of concern for her health and refused to live in fear. “I've made it this long and I’ll make it further. I'm too strong to be taken out by a damn disease, virus .. whatever they wanna call it,” she mumbled. She continued her days as she normally would and left the outside world to fret on their own. She closed her eyes to begin her daily nap when her granddaughter, Ja’la, knocked on her screen door. She was complaining of having a high fever and stomach cramps. “I don't want to contaminate you, but I didn't know where else to turn! I don't want to die grandma,” Ja’la cried. "Now, now. Things are okay. Let me make you something that'll help," replied her grandmother. She then laid on the couch holding her stomach and proceeded to try to rest while her grandmother made her special medicine. It was a concoction that was passed down from generation to generation.
Things were looking grim for Greyson as his location had been discovered. He had gotten snagged on a tree in an attempt to sneak behind the squad. Only one man had seen him so it wasn't too hard to scramble and hide, but as soon as word got back to the squad they all dispersed to pursue him.
“ I saw him run towards the mountains!” One of the men exclaimed.
While another was definite they had seen him running towards the streets. Greyson had escaped with nothing, but the good grace of the Lord. He headed west in an attempt to run into some abandoned shelter for the night. It took a few hours, but he located an old shack. It was not much, but it was protection from the elements and any wildlife he came to encounter. He set down his old coat and proceeded to lay down for the night. He reached into his bag and pulled out his journal and what few bites of trail mix he had remaining.
“I'm going to kill him. This is worse than the Black Death!” Exclaimed Tommy, one of the members on the assignment they dubbed Most Wanted.
March 5, 2054
I am freezing and I think I am coming down with a cold. I overheard the men looking for me saying that a lot of people had died at the hands of the virus. I am still unsure as to how the concoction made to enhance growth has turned so vile. How could I have miscalculated my measurements so severely? I am going to try to collect some materials and get to work on creating an antidote. Hopefully I can find some out here in the wilderness. For now I must focus on finding more food and a source of water. With a source of water I can follow it and hopefully come to some sort of civilization. I can only hope for the best at this point. There is a warrant out for my apprehension dead or alive and I am fearful. Although, I do accept my fate as this is all my fault. I should have disposed of my waste better and maybe the results would not have been so severe. I miss my family. I hope they are well. -G
With that he closed his journal and drifted off to sleep. It wasn't but sunrise when he awoke to the sound of scavenging and he feared he had been discovered. Fortunately, it was just a raccoon. He launched his shoe at the raccoon and it scurried out the nearest exit. He then began to gather his belongings and go about his search for a water source. He had high hopes and also longed to bathe. He had developed a strong musk and was looking gruff. On the other hand, his appearance might help as he could hardly recognize himself.
What Would You Do?
Houghtown's In Trouble
Back in Houghtown, chaos was at its worst. People were in the streets practically dying and a lot of hope was being lost. The children seemed to have caught the worst of the virus as their immune systems had hardly developed enough to conquer the common cold, let alone this lethal virus. Families were distraught and everything seemed to be spiraling out of control. A cure had to be sought or this virus was going to be the end to a mass civilization. Scientists and doctors came together and hoped to begin creating compromised vaccines and new formulas to combat the virus.
They began to fuse vaccinations for the chicken pox and flu. They worked to add more elements in hopes to combat the cells from the virus contaminating the community. They offered blood transfusions to patients who were already in the worst stage of the virus in an attempt to rejuvenate their white blood cells.
“This is far beyond any of our experience and we need to contact a higher organization,” one doctor stated.
“Just give me a chance I think I’m onto something here!” Exclaimed one scientist.
In all actuality and reality, no one really had hope to combat this virus. They were just hoping they didn't catch it next.
The Pressure Is On
Greyson meditated on his life which was undoubtedly spiraling out of control. He was merely attempting to create a growth elixir which could improve the subject's system and ultimately make them as strong and healthy as possible. He was perplexed as to how he created a formula that did the exact opposite. He couldn't even remember the exact formula and had disintegrated all his files in a fit of anger. Greyson knew if he was discovered things would only get worse.
“I must find a way overseas to conduct proper research and fix this before it gets any worse,” he thought. He had an aunt in Mongolia, but had no way to contact her. With no means of communication or media he wasn't even sure as to just how badly the virus had affected the community he knew and loved. Feelings of anguish, despair, and guilt flooded over him.
“I might as well turn myself in at this point,” he mumbled to himself.
Greyson continued on his journey towards civilization, when he heard a rustle of leaves behind him. He quickly glanced over his shoulder, but dismissed the sound as he saw no threats. He proceeded to walk throughout the forest.
“Maybe I added too many ounces of the somatotropin? Too little diphenhydramine? What could I have possibly done wrong?” Greyson pondered.
Not a second later he heard a loud whiz and felt a sharp pain.Clutching the back of his shoulder and running for cover, he began feeling faint and his eyesight was dimming.
“I think he’s unconscious now. Let’s move in!” Whispered one of the commanding officers on the squad.
The men inched closer with caution and proceeded to put a straitjacket on Greyson. They hoisted him onto a stretcher and proceeded to troop through the forest back to their trucks.
“What do you think they’ll do with him when we bring him back to headquarters?”
“They’ll probably interrogate him, maybe torture him.”
“We need answers. They wouldn’t injure the only man with the answers to a potential cure.”
The men entertained this conversation all the way to their destination.
Word of Greyson’s capture relieved the community, but it was only minor. Hundreds of innocent lives had been taken by a virus created by him. The whole community resented his existence and many spoke of how they hoped that he’d be given the death sentence.
“It’d be stupid for them to kill him now, then we’re all doomed.” Mrs. Johnson commented.
Despite what was going on throughout the community, Mrs. Johnson refused to miss her Tuesday book club meetings. They had unfortunately lost a few members to the virus, but they still came together in seek of comfort and consolation.
“I’m scared. If this virus takes children, then it takes us elderly folk too," complained one woman.
“Heck you talm’ ‘bout silly? We still here ain't we? Any of y'all feel sick?” exclaimed a gentleman.
“We’re going to be fine," another woman said in a reassuring voice.
The women were trying their hardest to remain strong and optimistic, but they all knew the chances of survival were slim with this virus. As time went, the number of attendees gradually became smaller and smaller. The city’s population dropped from 3,000 to 1,423 in three weeks time.
Grayson Imprisoned, But What Now?
Headquarters was getting hectic and Greyson was anxious as to what was about to happen to him. Two security guards were on duty at the door and there was a doctor preparing some type of liquid off in the corner. A familiar loud crackling sound filled the room and everyone in the room awaited to hear what was about to be aired throughout the area.
“Mr. Miller, you have 3 choices ahead of you. Choice number one is complete and utter honesty. We need to know how this virus came to be and why the community was exposed. If the slightest bit of resistance or hesitance to comply to our demands is sensed, you will be given a dose of sodium thiopental, which will be injected into you and compel you to answer our questions in all honesty. If either of these choices produce the necessary results we will have to resort to using our very own methods.”
The speaker then screeched and went silent. Greyson was horrified. He knew he couldn’t even remember the ingredients to the concoction, let alone could he establish just how it was exposed to the human population. He sighed and uttered, “Unfortunately I will be of little to no assistance, not because I am reluctant to answer any questions, but simply because I do not remember, nor know anything that can be of assistan―.”
Greyson was cut off by the speaker and instructed to wait until an official government agent entered the room. He did not have to wait long, for a big, burly man strolled in followed by two additional guards and a stenographer.
“My name is Ralph Dixon, government agent. You will speak to me and only me. No funny business, no lies, no tears, no cries. Failure to comply will result in you being institutionalized,” stated the agent in a very monotonous tone.
“Well as I was saying, I do not remember or know how this virus started… I was only trying to create a formula in which one’s health would be enhanced and they would flourish. After a number of unsuccessful attempts, I-I-I gave up and burned everything,” uttered Greyson.
The agent inquired further, “So what you’re telling me is you burned and polluted the air with several toxic concoctions and went about your business? Did you not have any concerns as to how this would affect the environment?”
Greyson began to feel attacked. The impact on what he had caused hit him hard. He had never taken the time to actually assess the situation and really take into account as to how many lives he altered.
“Hello? You’re not deaf. Talk.” The agent was getting impatient.
“I didn’t think. I just acted. Do what you must do to me because as much sympathy and concern I feel, I cannot reverse my actions. Give me time, the death penalty, a fine, or all of the above,” muttered Greyson.
“Very well,” the agent stated and then indicated for the men to follow him out the door.
Greyson was shaken up, but there was nothing more he could do. He relaxed his body and patiently awaited for the men to return.
In The End...
Headquarters was swarming with a plethora of agents and other officials. There was a large debate spurring on just what to do with Greyson Miller.
Ralph Dixon began, “There’s not much we can do to him. A couple life sentences will amount to him rotting in jail, a―”
“As he should!” Interrupted an agent.
“Johnathan! Please refrain from speaking unless you’re contributing more than your constant agreeing. Anyways, the death penalty really won’t do much justice. There does not seem to be much of a punishment fit for his actions. I do propose this idea, in which we must first act on the public. We will erase all footage and record of this virus and we will do what we have done on a number of other instances and erase their memory. Have the jets set to leave at dusk and act as if the crops are being sprayed. We will then confine Mr. Miller to his own home in which he will be infected by his own virus. The town will then be taken off the maps and everything will be demolished. All in favor say I.” Concluded Agent Dixon.
A majority acceded and idea became a plan that was to be effective immediately.
© 2020 Briannah Rose