Slade crumpled the letter in his hand.
Another child, Angie had another child.
Slade couldn’t believe it. His mother, his best friend in the entire world – she had a whole life away from him and his father. Not only a whole life but a whole separate family…
A siren woke Slade from his dreams.
Another ambulance taking another person to the holding zone.
It wouldn’t do them any good, Slade thought to himself, the Virus got them all in the end…
Garth was the first one to go. Always fit as a fiddle, Garth was the last person anyone would expect to be struck down with a debilitating illness. The large man was soon a shadow of his former self and almost overnight, Slade had to come to terms with the fact that his father was dying.
At first they thought it was meningitis. Garth had been plagued by horrendous headaches for a week and had cancelled all of his driving lessons as he could hardly even see because of the pain.
The doctor was evasive and whilst he took vials and vials of blood from Garth he offered no reassurance or insight as to what could be the problem.
Carla came home one evening with eyes as wide as saucers. Her boyfriend’s Mom had just been taken away to a ‘holding area’ and the family had been quarantined. She said that the symptoms were similar to Garth’s.
Slade wanted to know what exactly a ‘holding area’ was supposed to be and got really angry in thinking that Jim’s mother was not being taken to a hospital for appropriate treatment. But he was interrupted by a knock at the door and soon it was his own father who was being taken away to the ‘holding area’.
Carla and Slade demanded to know what was happening and what the deal was with the ‘holding area’. The Paramedic couldn’t give any information and told them to try and relax, that there was going to be an announcement by the President the next morning…
After a long night of worrying, wondering and a lot of pacing up and down, Slade and what was left of his family sat down to watch the broadcast. The President told the nation that something big was happening, that things would never be the same again.
Slade spent the rest of the day in a daze. He went to the train station to try and relax, to make some sense of what he had just found out.
But the station was full of parents sending their young children away. The first of the evacuations. Kids were crying all over the place, mothers hysterical, fathers shouting at the military men who bundled the kids onto the train, the military men themselves barking orders one minute and then wiping a tear away the next.
Slade shook his head in disbelief. He wondered if he might be having some kind of crazy nightmare but he knew he wasn’t. This was what the world had come to, this was real.
Back at home, things weren’t much better. Carla had been arrested along with her boyfriend Jim for trying to break into the holding area. Grace was beside herself with worry for both Carla and Garth. There had been no news whatsoever of her husband and she had just found out that her brother had also been taken away.
Starting to get hysterical herself, Grace confided in Slade that she was suffering herself from an excruciating headache.
Grace wanted to see the doctor to get some pills but Slade wouldn’t let her. He told her that she would end up in the holding area if she wasn’t careful and there was no way on earth that he was going to lose another member of his family.
Slade got Grace to lie down on her bed and he wiped her forehead with a cold cloth. How this was happening, he couldn’t comprehend. It was as if the world had turned upside down and the sky was caving in, everything had gone wild…
People were screaming in the street below. Slade ran to the window to see what was happening and wasn’t surprised to see their neighbour Brian being taken away in an ambulance whilst his wife Claire lost the plot.
People would lose the plot – who could blame them when life had taken a dive into the unknown, into a nightmare that was actually reality?
Slade sat down beside the woman he called Mom and held her hand tightly, vowing that he would do something, anything to make some sense of what was happening around him…