hotblack at morguefile.
I had always been tall for my age but the youth that stood across from me as the three of
us gathered to discuss our country’s future towered over me by at least 5 inches. He shouldered his backpack, long, slender fingers biting into its straps. “How long?” he demanded as though we had control over these things. “How long till it all falls?”
Dwey, my companion flinched at his question, less seasoned than I when it came to these matters.
I lifted my hands as though to pat the air. “Calm down, Pike. We still have plenty of time.”
“Plenty of time for you?” he demanded. “Those people out there asleep in their beds, not aware, not even curious as to the hell you’re about to unleash on the world, what about them? What about my family?”
“We’ll do our best to evacuate the city before it all comes down. Your family included.”
Green eyes flashed. “And if you can’t?”
I sighed. “Than nothing we do matters.”
A shadow fell across the three of us.
A jogger up for an early morning marathon. We stifled our talk as she passed by.
“And you’re sure this stuff will kill the invaders?” Pike demanded.
I nodded. “It’ll be like unleashing a plague upon our enemies. Several in fact.”
He accepted my hand shake. “Then I’ll do it.”
I smiled, knowing that Pike never had a chance to do otherwise. “Meet us here, tomorrow evening with the vial.”
Pike did as asked.
A blanket of silence fell over our meeting as he handed us the science experiment concocted by him and another student, now dead.
He shook his head. “Frank wouldn’t agree to this,” he said of his partner.
“Frank didn’t have a world to save,” I told him.
He swallowed. “Are you sure, we still do?”
I shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. But we have to take the chance.”
He left without another word as Dwey and I turned to one another.
“That was easier than I thought,” Dwey said.
“It’s all about power. Who has it. Who wants it. In this case, we have the advantage.” I turned to walk back to our car. “We should think our lucky stars to have such a weapon.”
“But to unleash it on the city—”
“Relax. We’ll be long gone before anyone can trace it to us. And these foolish believers in freedom and the American way shall perish as we prosper and rule the lands again.”
“And the effects on our own people?” Dwey asked.
I brushed the question aside. “Casualties are always expected in a war.”
Dwey nodded. “True. True.” He held his hand out, covering his face with a mask. “May I see it?”
“There’s hardly a need for that,” I said, gesturing at his face.
He turned the vial over and over in his hand before uncapping it.
“What?” I began. I never finished the sentence as the plague burned my nostrils then my lungs.
“Yes,” Dwey nodded. “There are always victims of these things. Welcome to America,” he said, “home of the free and the brave.”