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Anthony and Amelia are regular teens with regular issues, that is, until one day after school they arrive home to find their lives are changing forever. No one knows what causes it, but all of the adults are dead. The only ones left are the young and teenagers. Together, with the help of their best friend Sam and his cousin Sunny, they have to learn to survive and make it through to the next day.
What will happen when their new community is under attack and they have to learn to trust complete strangers? The Ones Who Lived will either come out alive or die fighting.
And So It Begins ... August 28th, 2017
Amelia and Anthony were on their way home from school when out of nowhere Amelia noticed an airplane out of the passenger side window plummeting to the Earth. The two teenagers never before had witnessed a car crash let alone a plane barreling down to the earth. The sound and sight of the explosion that occurred off to the right side of their view took the siblings’ breaths away.
“Dad wasn’t on that plane right?” Amelia asked her brother.
“No, he was supposed to be home hours ago. Mom said he would be home before we got back from school.” Anthony’s words were reassuring but his tone was saddened. No one could watch lives plummet to their death and not be struck by the horror and sadness of that.
“You’re positive right Anthony?”
“Yeah Amy I am, I’m positive Dad’s at home.”
Obvious signs developed in the sky, it turned black and the air became dense, the humidity was sweltering, the temperature rose at an exponential rate. Thunder rumbled through the air and lightning swarmed the sky. The storm brewing was fiercer than any others that Saint Pete had experienced before. The storm developed so briskly that Anthony and Amelia made it home in time to seek shelter out of the storm. The neighborhood traffic seemed eerily quiet. The streets held cars on either side, yet no one was driving. The green lawns were empty, not even the neighbors in their yards, and the sense of doom hung overhead as they pulled into their driveway and got out of their car.
"Mom, you home?" Anthony called out, as he and his twin sister ran into the house from the garage. Dinner was set out on the table as well as every light flipped in the on position.
"Momma you won't believe what Anthony did!" Amelia shouted, while she dropped her purse and jacket on the kitchen table.
"Where do you think they are, mom left us food?" Anthony questioned his sister.
"Who knows maybe they made plans together. Let's eat and enjoy a movie."
His sister never cared about the innate details all her focus centered on the end result. Anthony worried about everything. His levels of anxiety always bothered his parents, but they never found a solution for his tendencies to carry the world on his shoulders.
"She made Dad's favorite." The lasagna smelled amazing and both twins’ stomachs growled with hunger. The last meal they consumed was lunch, while at school near eleven this morning. Supper time being six hours later, they anxiously awaited dinner.
In a sarcastic tone Anthony said, "Dad came home today from his trip don't you remember?" Anthony pulled two plates out of the cupboard and set them down on the kitchen table. "Wonder how long he will be staying home this time. Dad made his job appear like he is always flying away overnight. He promised me a weekend fishing trip so hopefully that means he will be here until Monday."
"He’s a pilot Anthony, what do you expect Dad to do, fly only eight hours a day?" Amelia grabbed the silverware their mom had left on the kitchen island and set them next to the plates her brother had set out.
"Yes, precisely, that’s I expect." His response was simple and straight forward.
An exaggerated sigh left her lips and the eye roll that Amelia gave her brother made him go into a tirade over this topic. It became an ongoing conversation in their household between their parents. Mom wanted their dad home more and their dad wanted their mom to enjoy his high paying salary and to enjoy life.
"Where are they?" Anthony said while he walked around the living room and dining room. "Mom's purse is sitting in her chair in the living room, she wouldn't have left without it."
Amelia walked toward the hall closet and opened the door, she recognized her father's brief case. "Anthony! Dad's brief case is in the closet, and his wallet is on the table. He’s home!" Her voice was more of the volume of a scream than a loud comment. The twins were now frantic and running through the house calling or their parent.
"I found them!" Anthony hollered from their bedroom closet. His voice contained a level of fear and panic that Amelia didn't know how to process. Her heart sped up, increasing the thumps she detect inside her head.
The stairs moved quickly under her shoes as she took them two at a time. Amelia came running into the room and the second she viewed her brother's face she understood whatever he found would end poorly. Tears began to form in her eyes as she shook her head back and forth. "No, no, Anthony no!" She started to cry and fell to the floor. Her brother crossed the room and wrapped his arms around his sister and pulled her close.
"Their dead. I don't," he stopped talking to catch his breath and take in what he was about to say. "I don't know how." Tears streaked his cheeks while he rocked back and forth with his sister, holding her close. Neither of them spoke, they simply sat, motionless as if they had died too. The air in the room had not come to a point where the smell of a dead body was evident, but Amelia didn't want to risk that being the next phase.
"We need to call the police. They must have been murdered but I didn't see any blood." Anthony protested to his sister.
"Perhaps they aren't dead, did you check for a pulse?" Amelia's anxiousness picked up as she stood and walked towards the closet.
"No, I didn't touch them" Anthony walked behind her slowly. He watched her kneel beside their mother and place her two fingers along her neck and then his mom's wrist. He knew she didn't find a pulse, he was right they left this world on a new journey alone, without them.
"Anthony call the police." His sister's voice was firm, and it set him into motion. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed nine-one-one.
"Something's wrong." He said to Amelia. "No one is picking up."
"Someone always answer at the police station." She stated.
"Yep, pretty sure the sole purpose of switch board is to answer. I'm trying again, and no one is picking up."
Amelia checked their father's body for a pulse, and once again came up short. "What about Uncle Mack?"
"Good idea, he's a doctor he can tell us if they were murdered." He pulled his number up on his cell phone and pressed call. When his voicemail picked up he left a message and then ended the call. "Left a message. He's probably in surgery or something."
"I can't sit here and let them stay like this." Amelia said. She moved her head in all directions, looking around for something specifically she needed.
"We have to, we can't move them, and the police need to see how they, the bodies, got discovered." Anthony walked to his sister and pulled her into a standing position, he focused her attention to look at him. "We have to be smart about this, because we can't be the ones to mess the scene up."
"Mess the scene up, what are you CSI?" She laughed slightly at the comment, their whole family had teased Anthony about how much he loved crime shows and watched all that he could on television. But currently, he was right, he knew more about what to expect than she did, and Amelia didn't want to hurt anything that could help.
The two of them walked down the stairwell and into the kitchen. Anthony tried to call the police again but same as before no one answered and something in his gut told him this night was the first of many long nights. Amelia refused to accept reality, she took a single look at her brother and ran for the front door.
"Amy! Where are you going?" Anthony ran after her.
"I can't do this I can't! There are planes falling from the sky and our parents are dead!" The sound of her frantic voice traveled through the air. Anthony chased her, followed her, through their street, as she banged on doors yelling for anyone to help.
"What are we going to do?" His sister looked at him with worry in her eyes and fear in her voice. Her brother had finally caught up to her when she paused to breathe back in their drive way.
"We will get through this together. Whatever 'this' may be. Okay?"
All she could do was nod at him, there was zero reassurance given in this gesture. "Maybe whoever did this will come back and try to hurt us, should we prepare?"
"I don't think so, I mean, if they wanted us they could have had us at any time since we came home. Amy we're safe."
"You don't know that, I'm going to get Dad's gun." She turned towards their house and began her ascent into their home with Anthony trailing behind her.
"We don't have the safe code." He declared.
"I do, I saw him type it in a long time ago and memorized it." She turned and ran off into the den. When she returned to the kitchen she was holding two rifles and a handgun. "Here, you take a rifle."
"This is a bit overkill don't you think?" Anthony checked the rifle to make sure there wasn't anything in the chamber and then placed it on the table top.
"Nope, I am not going to be taken by surprise like Mom and Dad clearly were."
"Well I hope someone calls me back soon. While you were gone I called Grandpa and left a message with him too."
"He is going to be crushed, Mom was all he had left." Amelia loaded her rifle and cocked the bullet into the chamber. "But we will be there for him."
"It kinda creeps me out that you are so comfortable with Dad's rifle."
"He loved to go hunting with me. He wanted you to join us every time we went Anthony." Her voice lowered as she said that, he would never get the opportunity to hunt with their father now. At seventeen they became orphans and everything that populated their lives became altered forever.
Anthony's cell phone went off and both twins jumped. He looked at the name that showed up on the front screen of the phone and he shook his head at Amelia. "Hey Sam, can't talk right now." The tears still streamed from his eyes. He did everything possible to keep the panic at bay.
"What, what do you mean?" He paused and listened to his friend talk and then responded, "Us too, I walked into the bedroom and discovered their bodies. What the hell man? Maybe our folks spent time together and made the same enemy?" Anthony knew his logic was flawed and merely reaching for an answer. What other solution could be true? What other solution could be more likely?”
"Anthony what's going on?" Amelia pestered at her brother. She could see the look in his eyes, she knew it was more bad news, this time it was for their best friend.
"Sam's parents are dead too and he can't get ahold of the police either."
"How can four people suddenly die at the same time? And don’t forget the airplane falling to the ground." Amelia asked rhetorically.
"Sam why don't you and Sunny come over. We are better off as four instead of two."
"Four?" Amelia stated in the form of a question, she’s aware that Sam was an only child.
"His cousin is at his house, he was going to babysit her tonight. He doesn't want a six-year-old to see his dead parents."
"Makes sense, tell them we have food." She had always heard that women had to remain strong for their men. That saying was going to be put to the test tonight.
Anthony nodded and walked into another room and continued talking to Sam. Amelia stayed in the kitchen and now felt like she could focus on a purpose. She looked around at the food her mother diligently made and decided she would finish setting the table for their impending guests. Their two guest rooms already contained sheets, so Sam and his little cousin could stay in their own rooms comfortably. She could do this, she must keep things together.
"Sam will be here with Sunny in five minutes he was going to take his mom's car and come over."
"Does he even have a license yet?" She asked her brother. She noticed that her hands begun to shake, she almost felt like she was getting sick. Cold sweats were starting to cause her to shiver. Amelia had to focus on something, focus on anything.
"I am absolutely sure in moments like this, those small technicalities don't exactly matter. More so when the police aren't even answering the phone."
"Good point. I'm scared Anthony." she admitted in a voice full of anxiety.
"Me to sis, but we will manage. Okay?"
She nodded at her brother and then focused on cutting the lasagna into even squares. She made some lemonade and as her new reality started to sink in tears began to form in her eyes once again. The tears fell down her cheeks at the same time the doorbell rang.
"Got it!" Anthony yelled as he ran out of the kitchen and into the entryway.
Voices drifted through the downstairs and she couldn't make out a lot of words, but she could detect the sound of a little girl crying. She cleaned her hands off on the towel on the counter and then walked into the room and knelt in front of Sam's cousin.
"Hi sweetie, I'm Amelia, you can call me Amy. What's your name?"
"Sunny." She said as she wiped her tears off on her sleeve.
"Well Sunny, I bet you're hungry, I have some food in the kitchen. Do you want to eat?"
She nodded, and Amelia glanced up at Sam and smiled, "I'll take care of her, you two talk."
"Thanks Amy," Sam said calmly.
"No problem Sam, I got her."
When the two girls left the room, Sam shook his head back and forth and then said, "I can't get ahold of Sunny's parents. I left messages with them and the rest of our family members in a ninety-mile area. No answers."
"Man, this isn't good. My sister pulled out two rifles and a handgun she's afraid someone will come back and try to kill us like they did our parents."
"My folks don't have any gunshot or stab wounds, no blood, nothing that looks like an attack took place."
"Same here, it's the weirdest thing."
"What do you think it means?" Sam looked at the rifle on the couch and smiled as he shook his head, "Man, your sister is a trip."
Anthony chuckled and nodded, "She is something else, but I think there has to be a logical explanation for this."
"This rain storm outside is getting scary, there could be power outages if it keeps up all night."
"Got that covered, our dad instilled solar panels on our roof and a solar generator in the back yard in case of emergencies. So, we're gonna be set."
"Dang man, it’s like your own little compound." Sam walked to the chair and sat down. "Thanks for letting us come over."
"I don't think we wanted to be alone anyway and Amy does better when she has something to do, Sunny will help fill that need."
"Guys, you hungry?" Amelia's voice came from the kitchen.
"We'll be right in." Sam answered.
"I don't know that I can eat," Anthony said.
"It isn't technically about eating but company, I like your sister and she will help make this easier."
"Be careful Sam, she's my baby sister."
"You do know I am aware you're only three minutes older than her, right?"
"Baby sister is a baby sister, do not hurt her."
Sam grinned and saluted his friend, "Will do chief."
The two guys walked into the kitchen to see Amelia and Sunny sitting at the table eating. "Smells good sis."
"Mom made it, so you know it is." She smiled a half smile at him. "Sunny seems to like it."
"It's very good." Sunny said with a grin.
The two guys grabbed a glass of water and sat down at the table where the two untouched plates sat. The four of them ate in silence. No one knew what tomorrow would bring but one thing the four kids knew, odds are better four versus two, and two versus none. So together they would remain.
When it was all said and done, dishes put away and the girls upstairs Sam looked at Anthony, "What are we going to do with our parent’s bodies?"
Anthony's face went grim and he regretfully said, "We bury them Sam, tomorrow evening. All six of our parents."
Sam raised an eyebrow up and looked at his friend, "But where?"
The two of them looked at each other silently for a moment before Anthony spoke, "I think when we go on our supply run tomorrow we bring yours and Sunny's folks back here. We find a place in our neighborhood where all six of them can be together."
"Like our back yard?" Sam looked out of the window towards the ground.
"No, like under a tree somewhere, somewhere that isn't going to be used for anything other than remembering our folks."
Sam nodded at his friend and stated, "Agreed. Tomorrow then."
Amelia set Sunny up in the guest room next door to her room. She knew that the little girl was scared, and Sam never gave off the impression of the overly compassionate sort of guy. Amelia, focusing on taking care of Sunny, would give her plenty of things to keep her mind off her dead parents in their room down the hall. Sam's friendship of fifteen years meant she and Anthony knew Sam for almost all of their lives, they went to school together since daycare as toddlers. Plus, another guy in the house made Amelia feel safer, especially since she possessed her father's guns.
The only problem was that she was the only one who knew how to really shoot. There was a gut feeling that told her something seriously bad lurked outside of the walls of her home, something she wouldn't to be able to stand.
The running family joke with her parents always circled back to preparing for the apocalypse, which suddenly didn't seem like much of a joke at all. Amelia tried calling the police again and just as before there was no answer. Along with her grandfather and Uncle Mack. There was something very strange going on and for whatever reason Amelia knew deep in her gut that life for all of them changed and that it would never be the same again. She didn't mean just with being orphans.
"Knock knock" Sam said, as he walked into her room.
"You all settled in?" She said to him in a low tone.
"Yeah, tomorrow I think I am going to drive out to Sunny's parents place and grab some of her things and then go back to my place and grab my stuff. Would you mind watching Sunny?"
"No problem, I like her she is a sweet kid."
"She really is, all little kids tend to bother me but she gets my nerves the least, that's why I don't mind babysitting her."
"Were you able to get a hold of anyone in your family yet?"
Sam shook his head, "No, that's why I don't want her coming with me when I go get her things in case we find the same situation. What do you think she will need?"
"I'll make you a list of stuff. But I certainly think we are better as four instead of two and two. Let's call this place home base since we have the guaranteed power source and your house doesn't."
"Anthony and I already talked about that a bit ago, he is going with me and we're going to pick up supplies from my house to bring here so we are set for a while until we figure out what's going on. We’re also going to bring our parents here to bury with yours.”
"I think it would be best to leave first thing in the morning, as soon as the sun's out."
Sam tilted his head in question, "Why do you think that?"
"Cause what if my dad ended up being right, and it's the zombie apocalypse now, you don't want to be caught out at night do you?"
Sam bellowed a laugh and shook his head, "Amy, you seriously are just like your dad, always jumping to extremes. But sure, I will leave with Anthony right after breakfast."
"Sleep well Sam." She smirked at her friend.
"You too Amy, I'll be two doors down if you get scared." He winked at her.
Amelia laughed and walked over to him and lightly pushed him out into the hallway, "You're always nothing but trouble. Goodnight." After she shut the door she inhaled a deep breath, she was scared but she could never really let that show. People depended on her now and it was up to her to make sure everyone was taken care of until they all could figure out what was going on.
Her sleep seemed to go well for the first night without her parents, or as well as it could be. She mostly laid in bed and starred up at the ceiling thinking about the last time she saw her mom and dad. How she knew they loved her, but that life would forever be different now. Most likely Anthony and Sam would find the same thing tomorrow at Sunny's house. Was this why the neighborhood gave off the appearance of being so quiet? What happened that caused people to die and did the killer consider the four of them next?
She wanted to dwell on these things but decided sleep would be a better friend. There was a feeling deep in her gut that this disaster was just getting started and each day would be worse than the last for quite some time.
Something inside her made her pick up her cell phone. Amelia realized she hadn’t talked to Charlotte or Kelly, two of her best friends. One was in college; the other went to school and was a senior with her and Anthony. Not letting another second go by she reached out and dialed first Charlotte. The phone rang and rang with no answer. Maybe whatever affected them in Saint Pete didn’t affect those up in Tallahassee. Florida State University was far away, it could be possible this was a localized disaster.
Taking a second attempted she clicked on Kelly’s name to dial the number. After two rings she heard her friend pick up.
“Amelia, oh my god! This is a disaster!” her friend said in a hysterical voice.
“Calm down Kelly, I take it your parents are dead too?”
“Dead? I don’t know. Neither are home and everyone in my neighborhood is losing it. Like, where is everyone?”
“I have no clue, Sam is over here with Anthony and me, all our parents are gone, and we found them in our houses just, gone.”
“It’s a crisis I tell you, I hope mine are alive.”
“Have you spoken to Charlotte yet?” Amelia asked.
“Nope can’t get ahold of her, called her earlier before I realized there was some type of calamity happening.”
“If you need to come over we have room, I don’t want you to be alone.”
She could hear Kelly shaking her head on the phone before she spoke again, “No I’m fine, I called Zach up and we are over at his place. I don’t know what to make of it but we all need to be careful. Keep in touch okay?”
“Yeah I will, I don’t like this at all.”
Amelia continued the conversation for another hour. Around three in the morning there was a light knock on her door that jarred Amelia out of her slumber. She saw the door start to open and light shined through the crack.
"Amy, I'm scared." She heard Sunny say in a soft and shaken voice.
"Come in sweetie you can stay with me."
The little girl ran to the bed in a quick step and Amelia barely had enough time to pull the covers back to welcome the young child in with her.
"I don't like not being at my house." She said, while looking up at Amelia with tears in her eyes.
"It's scary I know, but we got to all be brave together Sunny. You have Sam, my brother, and me. We will all look out for you."
"My dad lets me watch The Walking Dead sometimes, is that what is going on outside, are people turning into zombies?"
The question caught Amelia by surprise and it took her a moment to answer it. "God, I hope not, my parents are in their room still. I am pretty sure that zombies can't exist sweetie."
"But people don't just die for no reason." Sunny insisted.
Which was true there was always a reason. "I know, but for now, let's just worry about a good night sleep, that way we can handle whatever comes our way in the morning, alright?"
Sunny nodded and then curled up next to Amelia squeezing in tight to cuddle. The older girl wrapped her arms around the child and held her tight to her body. The action's comfort both for Sunny and Amelia alike.
"Goodnight kiddo try to sleep well."