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The Plague that Touched Us

By Steven Dabu All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Adventure


“The Plague that Touched Us” is about a group of high school seniors who experience the world falling apart from a anti-bacterial resistant plague. Without a clear explanation, the Devil grants different, devilish powers to the kids. With a crippling police force, and the lack of law and order, the kids are free to do as they kids wish. The story strikes at very controversial topics with a light touch of comedy and hard emotion.

Chapter 1: The Fire Pit

Steve started noticing how some people stopped coming to school and some teachers were also absent. And pretty soon there were more substitutes than actual teachers. His history teacher was a substitute and even the lady who made the morning and afternoon announcements was a substitute. He noticed that traffic was getting better and lighter, but the gas prices were steadily rising. The people on the news were talking about it nonstop but it really didn’t affect his world, until the day they closed school in early October.
The day that school ended, Steve celebrated by throwing a hand full of graded papers in the air in the hallways on the last day of school. It was a bittersweet ending. Steve hated high school, but he knew he had to go back to finish before he could go to college. His dreams of independence, freedom and college that was supposed to start next summer were postponed.
But Steve wasn’t the type of guy who would worry about one subject for long. On his drive home, Steve listened to the cicadas make their mating calls and heard birds chirping as always. The sun was going to set in a few hours; he couldn’t tell where the sun was because the clouds blanketed the sky.
As Steve entered his home, he noticed his dad was sick and lying down on the couch so he asked his mother if he could have his friends over the next night to have a bonfire. His mother responded in a thick Asian accent, “No! How are you going to have a bonfire when we don’t have a fire pit?”
Steve gave her a smile and responded, “I guess I’ll make one.” Steve’s mother rolled her eyes and walked off.
Steve went to his room and changed into his typical clothes, baggy jeans, black boots and a white shirt and a baggy hoody. Steve looked at himself in the mirror. He referred to himself as a half-breed, being half Asian and half white. Steve styled his hair with some gel. He got a haircut a week ago and styled his short hair with spikes on top.
Steve went to the backyard and looked around. He used to see at several airplanes flying over the house every couple of minutes since they lived close to the international airport, but today, he only saw one. Steve looked for a shovel to dig a fire pit and found it next to the pile of scrap construction junk in the corner of the back yard, mostly leftover from when his parents renovated the kitchen.
Steve giggled and left the shovel where it was. He used his hands to dig out the old rusty steel kitchen sink under a few concrete cinder blocks and dragged the sink and four blocks toward the center of the back yard. As he stood the cinder blocks up like pillars and placed the sink on top, he noticed an ambulance arrival at his neighbor’s house with only the lights on, but no sirens.
“Kind of scary, huh?”
Steve flinched from fear but looked behind him and it was just Maykayla, the annoying skinny white girl from a few houses down who never had her curly frizzy brown hair under control. She never wore makeup and had on a regular short-sleeved shirt and jeans with the flare at the bottom and skater shoes.
She gave him a hug and said, “Hi, Steve.”
“May! You scared me. What are you doing here?” Steve asked as he gently pushed her off him.
“Your mom called my mom and said that you were having a bonfire tonight.” Maykayla smiled.
Steve sighed and said sarcastically, “Well, remind me to thank my mom for taking the initiative in inviting you because I was just about to tell her to invite you.”
“Well, my mom made me come here because she said she felt sorry for you because nobody shows up to your parties.” Maykayla laughed.
Steve grinned and replied, “Bullshit, you nerd! Your mom just wants you to get out of the house so you can stop reading that porn you call romance novels.”
“It’s not porn, you asshat!”
Steve laughed and patted her on the shoulder. “I’m just fucking with you, May. Come help me with my ghetto fire pit.”
Maykayla made a disappointed face at Steve as they walked toward the stack of firewood. They stopped when they saw the paramedics come out of the neighbor’s house pulling a stretcher that had a white cloth over their neighbor. Maykayla’s eyes opened up and she grabbed Steve’s left arm.
“Oh, my God… them, too?”
Steve gently pushed Maykayla off him. “Good, I always hated those fuckers anyway.”
Maykayla hit Steve’s arm. “Don’t say that, asshat! They just fucking died!”
“They were probably a terrorist anyway,” Steve joked.
Maykayla then scolded, “Just because they’re Arab doesn’t mean they aren’t a terrorist… Now, I know why nobody comes to your parties.”
Maykayla had a pissed off expression on her face as picked up a few small logs and threw them in the ghetto fire pit. Maykayla looked up at the tree house where they used to play all the time as kids. “
Steve, I got to ask...” She was interrupted by a high-pitched laugh off in the distance.
Steve giggled. “Nobody comes to my parties, huh?”
Walking up the driveway, he saw Fonsi, the very short, hairy, muscular Hispanic kid from some South American country Steve forgot the name of. He had a high-pitched voice and a thick Latino accent. Fonsi was hardly ever serious; he loved to make people laugh. Fonsi wasn’t his real name, but everyone called him that because he had a very typical Hispanic name, and several other kids in school shared his name. He wore a preppy shirt, jeans, boots and wore his hair slicked back with gel.
Holding his hand was Haley, a junior in high school who was about a foot taller than Fonsi. She had straight brown hair, pale blue eyes and huge boobs that had a magnetic effect on men’s eyes. She always put on a lot of makeup to deepen the contrast around her pale eyes. She had a tiny waist and a round butt. She must have gotten her figure from playing volleyball. She grew up on the beach. Haley and her parents moved out here the year before.
On Fonsi’s other side was Milo, a talk chubby Hispanic guy. He always wore at least three shirts and was a bit of a fashion freak. He had a Band-Aid on his forehead. He was carrying a backpack. Milo was born in Mexico but he resented it. Maybe because Steve had constantly made fun of his ethnicity when Milo first came to the US several years ago. Milo had a slight obsession with being proper and formal as much as possible. Milo wore his thick glasses and gelled his hair from left to right.
Coming up last was Clint. He was a tall lanky redneck kid. He always wore a ball cap with some kind of NASCAR logo or something, a plaid button-up shirt and tight blue jeans and boots. Clint was a proud white male. He could trace his ancestors back to the first English people who came to the New World on some boat from England or something like that.
Maykayla ran toward them. “Hey, guys! How are ya?”
“Hey, May!”
“Hello, Miss Maykayla!”
“’Sup, girl?”
She hugged them all and they all walked toward the ghetto fire pit.
“Hey, Clint! Where’s your sister?” Maykayla asked.
“Oh, you know her. She’s busy working as always.”
Steve smiled and pointed out, “Hey guys! See the new fire pit?”
They all laughed, and Fonsi laughed the hardest. “What the fuck is this shit? You too damn lazy to dig a real fucking fire pit?”
“The shovel’s right there, dick,” Steve pointed to the shovel next to the pile of leftover construction materials. “So, if Fonsi doesn’t wanna dig us a new fire pit, sit your asses down! And let’s light this bitch up!” Steve commanded.
The boys clogged the bottom of the sink with a plastic bag, then filled the sink up with gasoline and also poured motor oil in the sink. The boys rearranged logs in the sink into a neat pile. Maykayla and Haley stood far back, worrying that someone would get hurt like the last time the boys lit a fire at Clint’s house. Steve got a pack of sparklers and gave a sparkler each to Clint, Milo, Fonsi and one to himself. Clint pulled out his fancy Zippo lighter from his pocket.
Fonsi giggled and said, “Let’s touch our sticks together. No homo.”
“Bro, that’s gay as AIDS,” Steve said.
Maykayla ducked down behind one of the chairs and Haley peeked from behind a tree. The boys lit their sparklers, lined up and counted to three. They tossed the sparklers into the ghetto fire pit.
The ghetto fire pit lit up in a bright ball of fire and burned fiercely. The smoke was black and it fouled up the air.
“These infernos are constantly astonishing.” Milo laughed.
The boys and Maykayla pulled their chairs up to the fire. Haley sat next to Fonsi, and she held his hand as soon as he sat down.
Maykayla sat close next to Steve. “What’s in the bag, Milo?” Maykayla asked.
Milo smiled and Clint laughed. “What Milo gots there in dat bag is beer and a lil some-tin from my uncle… who passed away last week.” Everyone’s face was disheartened. “But he was an asshole, so fuck him.” Clint continued, and then everyone giggled.
Milo unzipped the bag and took out a twelve pack of beer. “Oh, my God!” Maykayla shouted. “Did you steal that?”
Steve smiled and told Maykayla, “Well, technically, we paid for it.” Everyone had a curious face and Steve continued explaining, “I promise we didn’t steal it. Milo, Clint and I went to Mr. Khan’s grocery store down the road in Bristol, and we always buy beer from him.”
Haley interrupted, “Mr. Khan? The Indian guy?”
“Yea, Mr. Khan from India. So, well, we tell him what kind of beer we’re stealing, then we steal it and then go to the register to pay for the other things we’re buying, and we always pay for the beer.”
Maykayla smiled. “I’m not sure if I want to punch you guys or hug you right now. So, how did you end up having that relationship with Mr. Khan?”
Milo laughed. “Our mutual relationship with Mr. Khan started when we first stole beer from him when we were 14. Steve and I skipped gym class and walked home from school and stopped by Mr. Khan’s shop on the way home. We went down the beer aisle and deposited glass beer bottles in each other’s backpacks as we walked down the aisle. Steve forgot to insert the bottles between my sweater in my backpack, so while we were walking the bottles made the sounds of an alcoholic taking out the trash in the morning. Mr. Khan pulled us aside when we were trying to exit and threatened to call the police on us.”
Steve continued the story. “So, then Mr. Khan made us an offer. We paid for all the beer we stole, and buy a few more things then he would let us go. He had a whole story about how he used to do the same damn thing.”
Milo opened up several beer bottles and passed them around to everyone. Then Milo smiled as he pulled a mason jar with a clear fluid in it from his backpack.
“What the hell is that?” Steve asked.
Fonsi made a surprised face. “It’s fucking moonshine, dumbass.”
“Moonshine? Who came up with that name? Sounds retarded. Where’s the label on that crap?” Steve asked.
Clint looked at Steve with a slight face of disappointment. “Ya really never heard of moonshine Steve? White lightning, Smokey mountain dew, hooch, white whiskey? Never heard any of that?”
“Nope,” Steve said as he shook his head.
Milo smiled and passed the jar to Clint, and he opened it. Clint took a sip, smiled and passed it to Fonsi. He took a big chug and passed it to Haley. She smelled it and made a face.
“No thanks!” she said and then passed it to Maykayla and she took a sip. Maykayla drank a little bit, coughed then passed the jar to Steve.
Steve also took a sip, coughed a little bit and smiled. “Not bad.”
The kids continued to talk about who was sick and who had died. It was a pretty depressing talk. Haley complained that she didn’t get a car for her 16th birthday. She said that her parents promised her if she got all nearly perfect grades, they would buy her a new car. Haley’s dad’s company closed down, and now he was working at a restaurant. Clint talked about some funny memories of his asshole uncle who died. Milo talked about how his older brother, who he’d hated all his life, and finally started to love him only for his last week of life. During the depressing talk, Steve caught Maykayla’s eyes looking at him then quickly looking away as soon as he noticed.
Milo reached out to Steve for the moonshine and Steve handed it to him. Milo just stared into the fire as he took a sip.
Maykayla then asked Milo when he was drinking, “How are your parents, Milo? Are they getting any better?”
Milo shook his head and took another sip, then explained, “No, not at all. Their conditions are worsening. They’ve gone to the hospital last night.”
Maykayla lightly hit Fonsi on his shoulder and asked, “So how’s your mom, Fonsi?”
“She’s all right,” Fonsi responded. “But she got laid off because a lot of her co-workers got sick, so the company had to shut down.”
“Shit, same thing happened to my mom,” Steve interrupted. “It’s just pneumonia, right? Why can’t they do anything about it?”
“It’s resistant to antibiotics,” Maykayla answered.
“So, is it a virus?” Milo asked.
Maykayla glanced away and down from the fire. “No, it’s bacterial. It’s resistant to antibiotics.”
Fonsi passed the jar of moonshine to Maykayla, “Hey, May, I hear this stuff kills bacteria.”
Maykayla thanked him and she took another sip from the jar.
Clint leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on a chair nobody was sitting in and asked, “So, what’d err-one do yesterday on the last day of school?”
Steve, Milo, and Fonsi glanced at each other and started to laugh. Steve put the top back on the jar and tightened it. “So, there we were, these two guys, Chris and I,” Steve pointed to Milo and Fonsi who were smiling with their arms crossed. “We just got done slaughtering everyone at the school’s JROTC drill meet.”
Clint interrupted, “Wasn’t Chris supposed to come tonight?”
“Yea, he never texted back,” Steve answered.
Clint continued, “Damn, dats da second time he’s dipped out on us. So, JROTC is that military cadet thing you guys do after school, right? What do you guys actually do?”
“Umm, we just march around with rifles, doing things all in sync and stuff,” Steve answered.
“Sounds pretty gay,” Clint joked. “Yea I wanted to do that too but I couldn’t since I moved here last year. But what was so funny about marching around? Why were you guys laughing earlier?”
Steven then answered, “Well, it was pretty funny seeing everyone all butt-hurt because they were all talking shit before the awards ceremony. So, in the locker room when we were changing to our civilian clothes, freaking Fonsi randomly found a big pile of books and a Jew bible, and he threw it at Milo when he still had his pants around his ankles! Milo fell over and head smashed a locker then the concrete floor.” Steve and Fonsi laughed.
“Funny…” Milo said. “Yes, then your dumbass,” Milo pointed at Steve, “dug through a random mountain of books just to find the New Testament, the Torah, Quran and, without a fucking thought, stole them.”
“Whoa, Milo, moonshine conceals your manners,” Steve mocked. “And, hey, I thought it was a good idea at the time. I’ve read those damn books and none of them make any sense.” Maykayla hit Steve in his arm again. “Oww, bitch!”
When Steve was done rubbing his arm, he squinted and stared at Haley until she looked back at him and asked her, “Haley, are you blind or something? Look at Fonsi! What do you see in him? Are you really attracted to him?”
Haley blushed and leaned closer to Fonsi. “Of course, I’m not blind, asshole. I like him because of who he is and how he treats me.” Haley smiled at Fonsi and gave him a kiss.
Steve leaned toward Maykayla and said softly. “I’m pretty sure she’s blind.”
Maykayla, Clint and Milo all laughed.
Fonsi opened the jar of moonshine and took a drink. “You know, Steve, even a blind girl wouldn’t like you because she would eventually find out that your Asian dick is like this, boiiing!” He extended his pinky finger in the air while everyone laughed.
“Fuck you, Fonsi! I’m only half Asian. So, I got some Long-shanks white genes in me.” Steve crossed his arms. Everyone but Maykayla continued laughing. Maykayla was looking at Steve and she had a curious look on her face. Steve pretended not to see her.
Clint stood up, stretched and made eye contact with everyone. “Kids, ya‘ll have to excuse me. Steve, where’s your bathroom at?”
“Do you have to shit or piss?” Steve asked
“Numba one,” Clint answered.
Steve smiled and made a voice that sounded like Mufasa from the Lion King. “Everywhere the light touches is where you may not pee, except that shadowy place over there.” Steve pointed toward the area behind the bushes and trees.
Clint smiled and walked off.
The fire was all charcoals. Milo stood up and stretched. “This moonshine is quite intense.” Milo smiled.
Steve turned around. “I can hear you peeing Clint.”
The peeing stopped and Clint responded, “No you can’t.” Then the peeing resumed and the boys laughed.
Haley was disgusted by it. “Eww gross.”
Milo stepped toward the pile of firewood and then he put a few more logs on the ghetto fire pit.
A few hours later, the boys passed around the jar and talked about cars, TV shows and sports while the girls started to get sleepy. Haley fell asleep leaning up against Fonsi, even though all the boys were laughing hard and moving around a lot. Maykayla kept yawning and her face was red from the moonshine. Clint stopped drinking a while ago and was just drinking water.
Milo and Fonsi would sometimes talk in Spanish to each other and say either Steve’s or Clint’s name just to get them curious.
Clint was upset and said out. “This is America. Why do I have to press #1 for English?” Everyone then laughed.
Fonsi stood up and almost lost his balance. “You know, Clint, this is America,” Fonsi explained in a high-pitched voice. “When George Washington said that everyone has free speech, he didn’t say shit about what language you could speak in.” Fonsi’s voice was so slurred and high pitched, no one could take him seriously and started to laugh at him. Even Haley woke up, giggled, and pulled him down back into his chair.
Maykayla stood up quickly, and almost fell over and laughed. Steve and Clint braced to grab her, but she maintained her balance. “Damn, girl. I think ya had just enough,” Clint insisted.
“I’m ok. Thanks, Clint… Hey, Mufasa!” Maykayla poked Steve. “Where’s the peeing ground?”
Steve made the Mufasa voice again. “Women shall not pee where men pee, and it contaminates the area that scares away hyenas.” Steve switched to his normal voice. “Dick-less beings shall go inside, for outside there is only alive organic stuff and poison ivy out here to wipe with. Mufasa always keeps the wellbeing of his lioness in mind.”
“Oooooookkkaay asshat.” Maykayla stumbled toward Steve’s house.
Milo stood up, stumbled a little himself and ran toward Maykayla. “If I may, ma’am.” Milo escorted her in.
“Thanks, Milo.”
Clint watched her walk away then looked at Steve. “Ya think she’s gone be all right?”
Steve put his ankle on top of his knee, raised his hands up with his palms outward, smiled and said, “I don’t know, but I think she’ll be fine.”
“That’s another reason why girls will never like you,” Haley scolded.
Steve still held his hands up in that I don’t care expression while he smiled.
“Yea, bro,” Fonsi added. “Obviously, May likes you. Why aren’t you doing anything about it? Are you gay or something?”
Steve was a bit surprised. “You wish I was gay, Fonsi. But since ya said it, I never thought about it like that. I guess May kind of does like me. Oh, well.” Steve took another drink of the moonshine and passed it to Clint. Clint put the lid back on, and he got up and got more firewood.
Milo walked back from the house by himself. “Steve, she was tired so she laid down.”
“Damn, I hope she doesn’t puke. My parents are going to be pissed if she does,” Steve said.
“I doubt it. She was conscious and she drank some water.”
“Oh, good.” Steve smiled.
Fonsi laughed and pointed at Steve. “So, you do care about her!”
“Something wrong with that, Fonsi?” Steve responded.
“Oh, someone has a crush!” Fonsi taunted
“Let me check my magic 8 ball.” Steve picked up and shook the jar of moonshine, opened it and looked down. “It says not likely.” Steve took a sip.
“Aww bullshit! Pass that here,” Fonsi ordered.
Steve closed the jar and passed it to him, and Fonsi and Steve went back and forth, accusing Steve of having feelings for Maykayla while Haley fell back asleep and Milo kept sipping on the jar and Clint started yawning a lot.
Clint stood up. “Ya know, guys, it’s getting late.”
Steve and Fonsi ignored him and kept arguing. Milo stood up and shook Clint’s hand. Milo said with a worried tone, “Are you okay to drive, sir?”
Clint answered, “Yes, sir. I’m no way near yer guy’s level.”
Steve stood up and yelled, “Of course Scarlet Johansson is hotter than Jessica Alba!”
Haley woke up. “Ugh, you guys are still arguing about that shit?”
Steve and Fonsi both glared at her with the most serious expression without saying anything. Haley said out of frustration. “Oh, whatever, guys,” Haley complained and repositioned herself in her in her chair. Then Steve and Fonsi continued to argue.
Clint started to walk off and looked back. “Bye, guys! See ya’ll later.” Haley got up and ran toward him. “Clint, can you take me home?”
“Yea, if that’s fine with Fonsi,” Clint answered and they both looked at Fonsi.
Fonsi and Steve were still arguing, now about which celebrities could make a better sandwich.
“Yea, I think he’ll be fine with that.” Haley smiled. Clint and Haley walked down the driveway.
Steve provoked Milo into the conversation by insulting female Mexican celebrities. After their argument, and almost half of the moonshine gone, the boys calmed down a little bit.
“B-R-B,” Steve spelled out. He got up and went to his room to get his portable stereo. When he turned on the lights to his room, he immediately noticed Maykayla snoring, asleep in his bed not under the covers, hugging a pillow. She was beautiful to him. Steve wanted to lay behind her and hug her as she slept.
But the sound of sirens from an ambulance interrupted his thought and the ambulance passed Steve’s house. Maykayla mumbled something that Steve choose to ignore.
“I’m sick of those sirens. I can’t sleep well either, May. That’s why I stay up. Besides, sleep is for the dead.” Steve grabbed his boom box and he went back outside, plugged in the stereo and put it on the window sill of the tree house that Steve and Maykayla used to play in when they were kids.g here…

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