I closed my eyes and felt the ice cold air cut across my face like razor blades. If I couldn’t see the pain and suffering surrounding me, it didn’t exist. I wish that were true. If it was, I wouldn’t be able to smell the the stagnant disease ridden air or hear the coughs and moans of the dying. I opened my eyes and and looked into the face of my sister. Her petite frame was smaller than usual and her bright emerald eyes had dulled to reflect that of the dungeon like room that surrounded us.
“Isa, let’s go for a walk.” I stood up and reached my hands out to hers. Her hands were small and felt like ice. I pulled the blanket from my back and wrapped it around her. She forced a smile, but her eyes emoted her true feelings; she had accepted that death was inevitable. I know that someday I will welcome death like a warm embrace – it’s a fate each one of us or destined to meet, but I wasn’t ready. Not today. Not when I had so much life left to live.
The quarantined room was small, yet held about 150 people. The old and young alike sat shoulder to shoulder with barely any room to adjust. Isa and I smiled as we passed by the elderly. We hope that our smiles offer some sort of comfort, but their time was coming soon, and they knew that. When we reached our security guard he looked at our badges and scanned our eyes for any signs of ailment. The scanner didn’t hurt, but the bright blue and green lights was irritating to look at. My sister and I weren’t infected yet, but because our parents developed the disease early, we were grouped will the other “unclean.” Our scan showed that we were still technically healthy and therefore we were allowed 10 minutes in the courtyard.
As we walked outside, I could feel a cough tingle in the back of my throat. I held it in, hoping that the guards wouldn’t hear my stifled breaths. I refuse to get the disease that had already claimed the lives of thousands of people, including my parents. I refuse to accept that I am going to die at 19 years old. This isn’t my story. This is not the story for my sister, Isabella. Our stories will be different. We were meant to survive.