Another Excerpt from Stereotypical Dystonian Novel

Anika woke with a start and found herself buckled in the front seat of a car on the move. She looked next to her and saw her father, Osric, behind the wheel, staring off at the road. She was hyperventilating and rolled down the window to let in some fresh air, trying to slow her thudding heartbeat.

“Bad dream?” Osric asked. When she nodded in response he added with a yawn, “Yes well, at least you still dream.”

“Speaking of dreams, it’s your turn to sleep. Pull over and we’ll switch,” she said pointing to an open area where a car had yet to be abandoned. When he ignored her, she argued, “Come on dad, I can see your bags from here. You need rest.”

“What I need is to think,” he sighed, “I’m so close to fabricating the vaccine. The strand I’ve been working with looks promising…”

“Dad the sample you have is old and dwindling. Instead of playing with some old viruses we should be out there looking for people immune to the disease. There are people out there! I’ve read reports about them in journals all over the east coast. A lot of them say there’s a colony in Oregon developing not only a vaccine but a cure!”

“Anika we’ve chased down how many rumors about a cure and what do we always find?” her father frowned.

She sighed, “Infected.”

“Exactly. There’s no immunity to the Rapacity disease just like there is no cure, but soon there will be a vaccine. We can salvage the last of human civilization starting with New York.” Osric pulled over and unbuckled.

“Dad, New York is the most dangerous place to be. Infected are everywhere. They’ve become cannibalistic and eat who they kill. They’re fucking zombies Dad! No one in their right mind is still in New York… No body but us.” Anika sighed and unbuckled before she got out of the car.

“And the quarantine in Queens,” Osric said as he got out too. When he saw the look on his daughter’s face he frowned, “Anika, you know, you don’t have to stay. You’re eighteen now, I know that doesn’t mean much today but it used to before all this craziness happened. If you want to go off…find that boy that you met a while back, David-”

Anika shook her head as they switched sides of the car, “Dad stop. I can’t leave you by yourself. We’re a team, Anika and Osric, Osric and Anika, Osrika, Anric,” she grinned at her father before she got in the car.

It was nearly dusk by the time they made it back to their town in Long Island. Anika parked the car near the service road off the highway and the duo got out and stretched. The lab where they lived was a twenty-five-minute hike from that point and she wanted to get back while there was still daylight. The two began their walk guns cocked, Osric in the front with Anika bringing up the rear. The streets were quiet and deserted like she liked it, but at dusk she could never be too sure.

Their trek was quiet with no issues until they made it to the north entrance of the lab and saw the key pad lock had been smashed and the door was unlocked. For a second both of them went really still then Anika looked at her father. He was only forty-six but he looked like he was in his late fifties, he had begun to develop carpal tunnel in his left hand, and though he’d never admit it he still had pain left calf from when he tore his muscle when she was twelve. She loved her father but he was weakening, she didn’t know if he would be able to handle whatever had broken into their home.

“Okay dad, let me go in first. Give me five minutes, if I’m not back or haven’t given you the signal, come in after me,” she said.

“Anika, are you crazy? I’m not letting you go in there alone,” Osric replied angrily.

“Look dad, we don’t know what’s in there, but we both know I’m faster than you are and I’m lighter on my feet. If I need to run, I’ll run. If I need to fight, I’ll fight.” When she could see the debate in her father’s eyes she kissed him on the cheek, “Five minutes.” Before he could debate any further she slipped inside the building.

She crept down the dark hall on high alert, training her ears to listen out for the slightest noise. With her pistol cocked, she checked each room for Infected, coming out empty. As she reached the end of the hall she heard rustling behind the door of the lab. With almost no audible sound she slipped into the lab and saw a tall slim male figure rummaging through her father’s papers. She sneaked behind him firmly pressed the barrel of her gun to the base of the back of his head. The male froze.

“You have three seconds to tell me who you are and what you’re doing here before I put a bullet in your skull,” she growled.

“Wait, you don’t understand,” he said.

“One,” she grunted.

He chuckled nervously. “Come on now, you don’t wanna-”

She pressed it harder against his head, “Two…”

“Okay wait!” he exclaimed. Suddenly he whipped around and knocked her arm to the side right before a shot rang out. He threw a punch at her, but she blocked it and hit him in the temple with the butt on her gun. He hissed and tackled her to the ground, knocking her gun out of her hand. “You need to calm down,” he growled.

Anika glared at the boy, he was leaning very close to her and had wrestled her arms above her head. She let out a slow breath and spit at him before she head-butted him with all her strength. He reeled and let go of her arms which allowed her to punch him in the jaw throwing him enough that she was able escape his hold. She went scrambling for her gun which had slid against the wall but the boy grabbed her legs and started pulling her back.

“If you would stop for two seconds,” the boy growled.

Anika didn’t listen, she kicked and fought desperately. In a world ravaged by plague, other humans were even less trustworthy than Infected. Her and her father had been betrayed by too many other humans before and she wasn’t going to make that mistake again. But in the struggle for her gun the boy was winning; she was slim and didn’t weigh much and boy had muscle. Slowly but surely, he was pulling her farther and farther away from her gun.

Before he could get Anika back under his grip a shot rang out and the boy jerked back, releasing his grip on Anika’s leg. She scrambled to her feet and saw her father with his gun aimed at the boy’s head ready to go in for the kill.

About the Author

Sierra Beeler is a Senior at UNCC, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film and Women and Gender studies. Forever a daydreamer, Sierra aspires to one day monopolize an entire weeknight with her own slew of TV shows, more popular than anything Shonda Rhimes could make. On the rare occasions when Sierra is not somewhere being obnoxious, you can find her doing one of her many passions: writing, drawing, filming, screeching (also known as singing), etc.