It was May 22, 2015. We had just come back from the 8th Grade End of Year dance. Of course, I'd taken Lilia. After all, she was my girlfriend now. And it was a nice way to celebrate our first-month anniversary as a couple. I'd bought a new light brown suit and wore a baby blue dress shirt and a striped tie. Lilia had worn a super-cute brown dress that matched my suit perfectly.
I danced almost every dance with her; until my feet were so swollen I couldn't even walk anymore. But I was willing to make any sacrifice at all just to please her. It was now almost eleven and it was time for me to take her home. So I said goodbye to everyone and told the girls and Larry to wait for me at the Palace.
We walked all the way home, holding hands, the late spring breeze blowing through us. We laughed and talked like we'd been doing for a month now. We talked and texted every day. And every time, we always said, "I love you," and kissed. Let me tell you something, she really knows how to kiss. I wonder where she learned.
Anyways, we arrived at her house. "Well, here you are. Safe at home."
She smiled at me. "Thanks, Spiny. I really had fun tonight. You made it all better."
"I really liked being with you, too," I said, feeling butterflies in my stomach. "Did I ever tell you how much I love you?"
She blushed and laughed. "Yes, but it's nice to hear it again. I love you too."
I leaned over kissed her passionately and deeply. She put her arms around me and pulled me so close that I almost suffocated. When I pulled away, I looked into her pretty eyes and said, "Goodnight. I love you."
"Goodnight, Spiny. I love you, too." She stepped in her house, closing the door behind her.
Aren't I fortunate to have such a beautiful, understanding, and fun girlfriend like Lilia? Anyways, I walked back to the Palace and instantly went to bed. Next day was a Saturday, but I still had to go to work. Being a King is a 24-hour, 7-day job, you know?
Next morning, I got up as usual and went to the office. Larry was already there, and was looking at the morning news. There was nothing new except stuff about the economy and the expansion of a national park here in Amarkia and how we were still imposing sanctions on Russia and North Korea.
But a story that was making the headlines was all the violent protests that had been going on in Baltimore over in the US. And several more had erupted across the country. There had even been some small protests here in Amarkia in the past few weeks or so.
"Hey," I said to him.
He turned around and grinned. "Hey. How's it going?"
"Oh, fair to midland. You sleep well?"
"Sure. And you? I can tell you had a fun time last night with you-know-who."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, come on. Don't start with that now. We have a lot of work to do today."
He nodded. "Okay." He turned off the TV and sat at his desk and started working.
After a while he said, "Say, can I ask you something?"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"What is it we do in Amarkia when something like that happens?" he said, pointing to the TV.
"When what happens?"
"Protests. What is our reaction when uprisings occur?"
I pushed away the paperwork that I was working on and cleared my throat. "Well, as long as they're not violent, we don't really do anything. I mean, our citizens do have freedom of expression and freedom of speech and they should be allowed to say what they think."
"Yeah, but, now, suppose something. A stage 1 protest is that there are scuffles. We don't do anything?"
I shook my head. "Nah."
"Stage 2. There is now vandalism and some damage."
"Then, we put out our police forces."
Larry got up and started pacing. "Now, a stage 3 protest is that there is now rioting and many windows are broken. Police are failing to control the crowds because they're getting kinda pushy."
"Then, we put out the National Police."
"Ah and…what do they do? Like, how do they work?"
"Well, they have military-style tanks and they also use water hoses to break the rioting. And they also use non-hazardous chemical sprays to sort of disperse crowds."
"Now, how about a stage 4 protest? When there is now looting and tons of damage. What do we do to those who are causing damage?"
"In a case like that one, we bring out the Amarkian National Guard and declare a state of emergency. And those who are looting and causing damage will be subject to special courts set up for them."
"Now, the fifth scenario. A stage 5 protest. The police and the national guard soldiers are being attacked directly."
I tapped my finger against the desk. "In that case, we use full force."
"Full force? Okay. But before that, in stage four, what we use is rubber bullets, right?"
"Flash grenades, and paintball guns. Non-lethal BB guns."
"And under a stage 4, we declare a dusk-to-dawn curfew."
"And in the most violent case? We bring out the entire National Guard and some members of the Army and declare a full 24-hour curfew until the emergency ends."
"In that way, only the real troublemakers are out, right?"
"Now, a stage 6 is that things really get bad. Buildings set on fire, mass rioting and looting, violence, and people disobeying the curfew. Something not common at all."
"Like a revolution? An uprising?"
I exhaled. "Well…in that case we do the one thing that no Amarkian king has ever wanted to do or has ever done. Something that all Amarkian kings have long feared. Something that no one has ever wanted to do."
"Go around naked?" he asked.
I stared at him. "No!"
"Pick your nose on camera?"
"Step down from the throne?"
Huh? "NO!" Not in a million years.
"Throw a nuclear weapon at a random city?"
"Ah…are going to let me finish?!"
He didn't stop. "Drink water from the toilet?"
"E…you drink water from the toilet?!"
"No, you," he said.
"What? No I don't!"
He shrugged. "I give up. What's that one thing that no one has ever wanted to do?"
"If it went to an extreme case and I had no other option at all and if it was the last thing that we could do…declare martial law." Just saying those last two words make me get chills. Like I said, it's never happened before in Amarkia in all the 95 million years that the country has existed. Everyone, even all the kings have been afraid of what might happen.
"Oh." Larry's response sounded like Oh, just that?
I continued by saying, "And to enforce it, we'd have troops at checkpoints and strategic locations like street corners and at the entrances of our cities and towns and at algae oil fields, electric plants, factories, farms, water storages, the places where we store money and our gold and precious metals, and the government buildings and the Palace, of course.
"And we would also replace the existing court system with military courts. And those who break the curfew or continue to be disobedient would be subject to military courts."
He nodded as if satisfied. Then he went back to his computer and started typing. I continued my work, also.
"Oh, and I have another update for us Amarkians. Something that is now perfected."
I quickly stood up. "A cure for acne?"
"No. You don't have that problem. You don't have a single pimple, blackhead, or mark on your face. It's still like a baby's skin."
"It's got to do with a disease."
"Um….I give up. Which is it?"
"And it's not a cure, by the way."
"It's not a cure. Well then, what is it?"
"It's a disease which has been officially discovered here in Amarkia."
That got my attention. "Oh?! There's a new disease?"
"Uh, what exactly is it?"
He scratched the back of his head. With his tail. (I was in dinosaur form, too. I hadn't been in quite a while.) "I wouldn't know what to call it, really. But it causes distortional bone growth."
"Distortional bone growth?!"
"Yeah, it makes you grow bony spikes."
I scoffed. This was a little hard for me to believe. "What kind of disease is that?"
"I don't know," he laughed. "But is also causes the swelling of organs."
Now, that really got my attention. "Swelling of organs?! That sound painful!"
"And the decomposing of flesh."
"And in extreme cases, the skin is so weakened that it can't hold in the swelling organs. So, basically, your organs all fall out."
"Blech! That's gross!" I couldn't imagine organs swelling, much less falling out of your body. "That doesn't sound pretty."
He shook his head. "No, it's not pretty at all. At the moment, the treatment is a bullet in the head."
"Huh? Excuse me?"
"Yes, to avoid immense suffering."
"That's the only way?"
"Well…none of our painkillers work. It's the only humane thing to do."
I took some time to wrap that around my mind. But I was interrupted when Larry said, "And there's another disease."
He nodded. "Well…the name is of some debate. Some call it the zombie virus."
"What-zombie virus? There's no such thing as zombies!"
"I know which is why we call it something more realistic. The Maddening Virus. That's what is basically is."
"The Maddening Virus?"
He nodded. "Basically a mutated version of rabies. And the scary thing is that one of our scientists was infected with it."
"He got crazy. But he didn't start decomposing or anything. Because like I said, it's got nothing to do with zombies. But he did become a crazy, carnivorous being."
"Eesh!" I shuddered at that. That was definitely not something I'd like to catch.
"And what did we do? We put him in a containment cell."
"You did? How's he doing?"
"He isssssssss kind of doing fine. He seems to have no sanity and no humane instinct. Because, like, he's launched his body so many times against the wall, that he's starting to deteriorate himself."
"And he doesn't even know it?"
"No. And he doesn't even seem to care."
"And he seems to have no fear instinct."
"So, they're not afraid of anything at all?"
"No, not at all," he said in a British accent. "And we threw in a rabbit, just to see what happened."
"And what did happen?"
"He bit off the head."
"Nyah! He did what?!"
"Then, I threw in an alligator."
"And what happened?" I asked anxiously.
"Eh, strangely, he survived the alligator attack. Uh, despite losing both legs."
"Ahh!" I screamed in shock. He lost both legs and survived?! "He's legless?"
"Yeah, he's legless. Those who are infected seem to have no need for vital organs."
"And…what happened to the alligator?"
"Well, it was also infected."
I chuckled. "Don't tell me he got crazy, too!"
"Yep. And now, they're attacking not each other."
"What? They're not?"
"I guess—and this is our clue to the cure in case it does happen—they sense the virus is in them already."
"Hmm. What do you think it would do to The Red Eyes?" Oh, yeah. The Red Eyes are an evil group which live in a distant galaxy. All of them are evil. It's consisted of robots, humans, dinosaurs, monsters, aliens, and other beings. And like the name suggests, they have red eyes and black bodies.
They are our greatest enemies and are cruel, emotionless, incredibly powerful, savage, selfish, and purely sadistically evil. And although we have hundreds of other enemies, The Red Eyes make no alliances and even attack other evil groups. They always break their promises and even kill their own children and show no emotion at all, as if they were flies. They attack without warning, always intend to kill me, and have a personal grudge against Larry that goes back several billion years and encompasses dozens of parallel universes.
So you can imagine how they are with us Amarkians. And no one on Earth knows they exist. They are VERY hard to beat and their attacks always cost us dozens of lives.
So, anyways, Larry said, "Red Eyes?"
"Yeah, since those who are infected have no fear?"
"Well, Red Eyes have a grim system. They kill themselves if they fear infecting army men."
"They kill themselves?!"
"Yes. They have no fear of killing themselves."
"Eesh! That's sadist."
"And they have no fear of killing their own children. No hesitation, no tears."
"Just call of duty to them…and saving themselves."
I was silent for a while, trying to grapple all this information. All I could say, "Wow."
Larry sighed loudly. "Yes, so these are two new diseases that we've discovered."
I shook my head, thinking of all the problems in the world. I was thankful that we had peace and tranquility in Amarkia. But little did I know that before the day ended, there would be many dead and injured while we suffered at the hands of our enemies.