It all started on a clear and crisp night in October when a small meteor broke through the lower portions of Earth’s atmosphere. It wasn’t given a lot of attention. It wasn’t a large meteor to begin with, and scientists assumed it would break up in entry. What the scientists didn’t know was that it wasn’t an ordinary meteor.
What crashed down as a meteorite in the wetlands of Northern Florida was a meter long, pill-shaped cylinder. Inside the cylinder was a highly concentrated gas that spewed some of its contents into the atmosphere even before it struck the earth. This gas was the catalyst for the change in the world. To put it simply, the gas released from the cylinder either genetically altered or killed...everything. There was no stopping this gas, perhaps if the cylinder landed in a populated area, the world could have had some time to prepare or transition, but it didn’t.
While this was the moment everything changed, the gas didn’t change everything overnight, the changes mainly spread from the epicenter at the swamp. What didn’t die, changed; the plants grew thicker and different species seemingly appeared out of nowhere. The same thing happened to the animals; the whole world’s ecosystem changed. Humans were no exception. While the gas killed many, it also changed the adolescents and newly born humans into the world.
It took a few months for changes in the plants and animals to enter the mainstream consciousness of the world, but by that time, humanity was already focused on the growing epidemic that seemed to be hitting America hard but was also springing up all over the world. No one was immune to the path of the epidemic. From the youngest baby to the eldest person, billions died, of course, it would be many years before anyone tried to compute the actual number. This was due mostly to world governments becoming insular and closing their borders to deal with the problems in their own way. Like other countries, the United States government closed its borders due to the lack of knowledge about the epidemic’s origin.
I was thirteen when reports of the epidemic started to reach the news stations. I remember playing video games one night while the news displayed a projected path of the epidemic. Even with the mindless preoccupation that video games provided, I was worried about what was going to happen. The schools throughout the nation had all been canceled and the population mostly stayed sheltered in their homes out of fear.
My parents and I lived in Arizona. As a map of North America with different colors was displayed on the television, I could see a wave of red slowly moving to the west. Where we lived was still in the yellow before the graphic started moving, but it was right at the edge. My parents had always been open with me about what was going on and they were currently discussing trying to leave the town and go somewhere safer.
I was tuning them out while I played my game. I trusted that my parents would make the right decision and I would help them by being brave. My father glanced back to me quickly, then lowered his voice a little. When he looked back, I thought I caught a hint of fear in his eyes so I tried to listen. His voice was too low for me to make out much. I thought I heard the words, “stealing,” and “running,” and I thought I heard the name of the next town over.
I glanced at them from the corner of my eye. I could see my mom’s dark brown eyes flicker to me as my father talked low. She noticed me looking though and cut my father off. After that, they turned off the television and moved to another room. I was a little concerned that they didn’t want me to hear about whatever they were discussing, but I knew they would do everything in their power to keep us safe. Besides, I needed to grind some more to get to the next level in my game. I kept playing until my eyelids demanded rest.
The next thing I remembered was waking up in the infirmary at Camp Walker.