Life carried on as normal for the next couple of weeks in the Wallace household. The kids were gaining top marks at school and Ben and Andrea had treated Blake to a new bike and promised Ruby a car on her 16th birthday for doing so well at school.
It was late on the next Friday night that Ben got home white as a ghost. Andrea and the kids were in bed but Ben knew the sooner he told them, the better.
After he’d woken them all up and got them downstairs with a hot chocolate he broke the news.
The anti-aging drug had started a virus.
Everyone who had been working in the laboratory in the last month had perished. The Health Research centre was still keeping a lid on the situation but it was looking pretty bad. The virus had escaped from the lab with the first researcher who’d been taking the drug with his wife. Everywhere they’d been in their community, the supermarket, the park, the squash club etc the week before they died had started a new outbreak.
The one strange thing the Research Executives had noticed was that no kids were dying of it. Only adults. But why that was they had no idea.
No one knew about it except the Health Research and Development Centre and Ben. They had never imagined that things could go so wrong.
Ben explained to his family that this virus was going to be an epidemic. The antidote for the drug hadn’t been finished and there was no telling how it could be stopped especially since all the chemists and lab workers that were working on it were now dead.
Ben had been thinking about the situation all day and had decided that as a family they had better come up with some security measures for themselves – somethign had to be done and it had to be done fast. Andrea and Ben would have to cut themselves off from the rest of the world.
Tomorrow they would go out and buy enough, food, water, and essentials to last them 8 weeks. If they didn’t have to leave the house or better yet, the basement, then they’d be less likely to catch it.
They would turn the basement into a fully functional room with bedding, minimal cooking facilities and enough room to store all their food and water. Ben would sort out air circulation through a wall with a filter system and if all went well they’d be alright down there for at least eight weeks.
Andrea was crying. How could such a thing happen in this day and age? Aren’t proper precautions taken against such things happening? It all came down to greed. The human race weren’t happy living for 60-80 years – they wanted more and she felt disgusted.
The next day they were each given tasks. It was going to be a huge project to complete in two days but there wasn’t time to think – it had to be done.
By midnight they had their supplies and Ben had almost finished lining all the walls in the basement and an air filtered ciculation system had been installed by a very overpaid contractor by early afternoon.
Ben had also built a chute that ran from the inside of the pantry upstairs down to their little cubby hole in the basement. This was how Andrea and Ben would communicate with their children. If they ran out of food Blake and Ruby could send some down. If they needed water it could be sent down. Plus they could talk to each this way even if only for short periods.
Ruby and Blake felt blank – it hadn’t sunk in yet or maybe it had. Neither of them knew quite what to feel. It was an odd feeling of knowing your parents might die soon and yet here they are in front of you looking healthy and normal. They did know that they would do whatever they could to stop it from happening. But there was another side to how Ruby felt – there would be hundreds maybe thousands of other’s dying out there. Other’s who had no prior warning like her parents.
Every last detail was thought of. Ben had written blank cheques for the kids to keep paying the bills and they’d also stock piled the house with food. Ruby and Blake would continue to go to school for the next week and let everyone know that they were off on a holiday the following week for at least 14 days.
Sunday was the day – Andrea and Ben had decided not to let their workplaces know what was happening. They had both left messages at work saying there had been a family crisis (not far from the truth) and that they had had to leave town for a couple of weeks.
Ben and Andrea kissed their children and reminded them that they would still be there so not to worry. They descended the stairs and Blake and Ruby heard the locks turn and the seals put in place around the door and then they placed their own padlocks on the outside.
This was it….it was either going to work….or it wasn’t.