by EMZee Snowe
A disease had broken out, causing an epidemic. What could be the the cause of the trouble?
| The lights on the ambulance reflected off the windows of the school. Outside, the students, wide-eyed and staring, whispered amongst themselves.|
“Did you see who it was?”
“No, did you?”
“A girl, I think! I saw long blonde hair!”
The body was covered with a blue sheet, trying to keep the rumors at bay. The notion of the disease at the school would spread anyway.
A girl with large glasses and wild hair hung back by a tree. Next to her was a girl with a large nose and freckles all over her face.
“Did you see who it was?” The freckled girl asked hesitantly.
“No, of course not!” the girl with the glasses snapped. “No one saw. No one wants to see, not really.”
The freckled girl paused, before adding, “I think someone saw. Earlier, Melissa was examining herself in the mirror. Think she got…it?”
The girl with the glasses snorted. “God, what an idiot. Of course Melissa got it. She should have known to stay away when the other one showed the symptoms.”
“But god, I want to know who got it!” The freckled girl sighed heavily.
“You’re an idiot, Teresa. Think.” The girl with the glasses tapped her temple, looking meaningfully at Teresa, the freckled girl.
Teresa stood there, pondering, wondering to herself, who had shown the signs? She stood still suddenly. “Was it…Catherine, Margaret?”
Margaret rolled her eyes from behind her thick glasses. “You are so slow, Teresa. Of course it was Cathy. Didn’t you see her Tuesday? She had all the signs! I’m surprised they didn’t quarantine her earlier.”
“Poor Cathy,” Teresa sympathized, “She had so much going for her. So popular, and incredibly smart too.”
Margaret snorted again, louder this time. “She hung out with the wrong people, those Infesters, the one’s with the disease, skulking in the shadows behind the grocery store. Not so smart if you ask me.”
“Cathy was so nice…,” Teresa trailed off. Margaret ignored the unfinished statement, staring coldly at the student’s huddled around the ambulance, being held back from getting a close look by a few teachers. “Look at those idiots! Crowding around, trying to get a better look! They’ll catch it too! They’ll be taken away, experimented on, poked and prodded!” Margaret growled.
“It’s been spreading,” Teresa whispered. Margaret’s head snapped over in her direction. “You’re lying,” she practically hissed.
Teresa shook her head. “I heard my parents talking about it last night. They work to find a cure, they know these things.”
“It’s not easy to spread,” Margaret stated slowly. Teresa shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably. “But the victims, they’re hiding the signs. Look at Cathy! No one knew about her until she was too far gone!”
The ambulance started its engine, slowly rolling away from the school. The lights weren’t on, further proving Teresa’s statement. The victim could not be saved. The teachers headed back into the school, herding the students to return to their benches to finish their lunches. Both Margaret and Teresa did not move, standing quietly by the tree.
Margaret broke their silence. “So, what does that mean?”
“I dunno,” Teresa replied, “I’m moving though, somewhere isolated. That’s what my dad said. It can’t spread where there aren’t many people.”
Margaret walked towards the other students, back to the laughing and talking. She saw Melissa, sitting at a table by herself, messing with her hair, studying herself in a mirror.
“Yup, she’s got it,” Margaret confirmed, absolutely positive.
“How can you tell?” Teresa asked enthusiastically. Truthfully, she already knew how, she just wanted to fill the air with conversation. She didn’t want her mind to rest on the thought of her leaving.
“Her skin, really. I’m surprised no one else had noticed it yet,” Margaret answered in her superior tone. “Should we turn her in?” Teresa asked.
Margaret turned to look at Teresa, and then turned to look back at Melissa. Margaret shrugged. “If it’s spreading, what’s the point? Everyone out here probably already has it!” Margaret spread out her arms for emphasis.
Teresa tugged on Margaret’s arm, getting her attention. “Don’t look to long! You’ll catch it!”
Margaret laughed. “If I already have it, what’s the big deal if I look? Besides, it spreads through contact. You can’t get it by looking at them.” Margaret shot Teresa a you’re-so-dumb look.
“I don’t want to lose you,” Teresa said quietly, looking at the ground, “You’re my best friend.”
Margaret’s eyes softened. ‘Don’t worry,” she soothed, replying in a much nicer tone, “I won’t get it. I won’t even go near Melissa.”
Margaret and Teresa started to walk back toward s the school. “It’s a shame, really,” Margaret started,” “How something so pretty can be so bad.”
Teresa shrugged, looking over her shoulder for one last look at Melissa. “Beauty’s a disease.”