was a suburb that had it all. Beautiful gardens, treehouses, swimming pools, and a ‘village centre’ where glamorous mothers used to meet for coffee, manicures and gossip.
Amber loved her home. She had an amazing bedroom with all mod cons – an ensuite bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe, a TV and VCR, a top of the range stereo. And the best view of the Bellevue Hills anyone could ask for.
She got on really well with her sister, Solaris who lived in the flat above the garage. Solaris had moved out here when their new stepmother had moved in. Lucy was okay, Amber got on with her but there was a bit of friction between her and Solaris.
Lucy had been the nurse that had cared for their mother Dianne during her years of suffering from a crippling disease. It was only natural that the whole family bonded with this woman who had cared for Dianne so sincerely right to the very end. Jim felt that it was a progression of his love for Dianne that he developed a relationship with Lucy after Dianne had gone. He thought that the girls needed a mother figure and Jim went out of his way to make sure that Lucy was accepted whilst also ensuring that Dianne would never be forgotten. Lucy was a good woman and Solaris liked her well enough but still found it hard to come to terms with the fact that another woman had taken the place of her mother.
Amber had a happy life. She had many memories of Dianne and happy family holidays that they had all enjoyed together before Mum got so ill. Beach holidays were a favourite, the best times were when they made campfires or when they sat in the sun-warmed water that pooled in the holes they had dug in the sand. Amber clung on to these memories of her mother. She would never forget her but she was also realistic enough to believe what Dianne had said to her before she died – that life was for the living. With this in mind she developed and enjoyed a relationship with her stepmother without guilt.
School was good. Amber was an A-grade student without much effort needed and she had heaps of friends. She was a popular girl, always well dressed, happy to share her time with friends and hang out at the Mall with them. There were lots of sleep-overs and movie nights and Amber always tried to include the ‘outsiders’ in these events, make the less popular kids at school feel that they had a place in life and people to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.
She had always been sincere in her interest in people and maybe this was because she had learnt that life was so precious at an early age when her Mum became ill and bedridden. She was a rich kid, yeah, but she wasn¹t stuck up at all and people responded to her personality, her sincerity and her sense of justice.
One day at school there was a special assembly held. Amber was well aware of what the topic would be. The Virus. She had been avidly watching the news over the past couple of months, seen the destruction and devastation take its effect on the world, wreaking havoc on civilization.
Many people in Bellevue Heights thought that they would be safe from The Virus. They lived in a prosperous and exclusive area where private health care soon dealt with any epidemics or other health problems that came up.
Amber didn¹t hold this view and neither did her friend Dal. His parents were doctors who had recently been working night and day to try to save the lives of many people in the poorer parts of the City who had contracted the Virus.
The assembly was meant to be a well informed meeting about The Virus with a visual display of the signs and symptoms but panic soon developed and kids started breaking down in tears and hysteria, unable to get the images of such horrific deaths out of their heads and the realization that this could happen to their own loved ones.
Dal went home with Amber that afternoon and they two of them spent the rest of the day in the garage flat with Solaris, debating how they could survive in a world without adults.
If the worst case scenario panned out as feared they would soon find themselves directly affected by the events that were unfolding at a rapid and terrifying rate around the globe.