Post by Pally on May 17, 2018 23:47:51 GMT
To begin my journey to the past I went to visit an old family friend I knew had been in the "before". Alma Bland worked at a chemical factory in what we know today as, Nukecrest. She worked along side a few other scientist and chemists, two of whom were my grandparents. I looked forward to hearing her story.
Alma greeted me with a warm hug. She viewed my siblings and myself as her own grandchildren. I knew she had raised my mother for a brief time. I was curious as to why she had to give her up.
After showing me around the old factory a little bit, I started telling her why I had paid her a visit. I told her about the book I wanted to write and about how I needed to hear her side of the story. To know what role this old factory and it's workers played in the apocalypse.
She looked at me and a sad expression crossed her face. I told her not to worry if she couldn't remember much, just to tell me what she could. She said,"Oh no, I remember those days. I'll never forget them. I often replay many of them in my mind and wonder what we could of done differently." She sighed and told me to follow her to the cafeteria.
We sat down at the table and I pulled out a notebook while she began to talk. One of her old co- workers, whom she lived with here at the factory, listened to us for a little before leaving with his head hung. I think they all felt ashamed in some manner for what happened. It made me even more curious to know what it was. Alma continued to speak and I wrote down everything she said.
"I remember a few months before the outbreak, we were all working in the lab, like always. We were full of zest and excitement for our new project. We were on the verge of a new discovery. One that was going to change the world," she paused slightly, looking down at the table, "if only we would of known how it was going to change it..."
She was quiet for a moment and I asked her about my grandmother. "Oh yes, it was around the same time I first discovered she was pregnant! I had heard what sounded like crying coming from one of the bathrooms. Well, it was her."
"She told me she had known for some time now but still couldn't believe it was true. But sure enough, as soon as she told me, it was all I could see. Her stomach looked as if she had swallowed a watermelon! It was totally unexpected. We all thought your grandparents were completely sterile. They had went through many tests before starting work at the factory. We all had actually."
"It was one of the requirements to work here. That you couldn't or never wanted to have children of your own. It was for protection really. We were exposed to so many strange chemicals that no one could know the outcome or effects they would have on an unborn child. I remember all the wavers I had to sign for if there ever was an accidental pregnancy."
"It was a miracle not of science, but of nature. It was as if this baby was meant to be, and so far it had been growing and developing like a perfectly normal baby. I asked about what she planned to do and she told me, 'to keep working until her time came and then take a few days sick leave.' She planned to keep the baby a secret and so far it was working."
"I could tell she was a nervous wreck so I tried to let her take it easy when I could. That was until our boss showed up and said he would be overseeing the final stages of our work. It was going to be a little trickier to keep a secret."
"His name was Dr. George Wonder. He was sent over by the head office at the CDC. I had always suspicioned he gave himself that name. He was an over confident man who thought highly of himself. He was brilliant I admit, but there were many times I wanted to smack him upside his arrogant head..."
"..That is if he wasn't so darn attractive. Did I mention he had the looks of a Greek God? Beauty and brains all in one. He was quite a package. If only he wasn't so in love with himself, I would of liked to take him for a tussle in the old bush out back."
"I remember him telling us all how rich we were going to be. How famous our work would become. You see we were on the verge of finding a cure for the common cold. We were so close we could almost feel it. Derek was the only one of us who was nervous about the whole project. But George and his smooth talking convinced him it would all be worth it."
"Thinking back on it now, maybe we all should of asked more questions. But questions could get you fired or worse...You see we had been doing research on a strange plant the CDC had sent over. It was something we had never before seen and it contained a number of different minerals and chemicals. Many of which could be used for medicinal purposes. We worked for hours trying to break down the plant."
"It was long tiring work. One evening your grandmother got a little sleepy from all the long hours and she dropped a vial of harmless testing liquid. The sound broke our silent working trance. George began yelling at her, telling her to be more careful. These were, after all unknown substances and none of us knew the long term effects they could have on a human once exposed."
"She snapped back at him about us working to much and needing a break. That was when he noticed her growing stomach. He eyed her suspiciously and asked her if she had been gaining weight. I thought she was going to slap him across the face, but she cooled off fast and told him yes. The extra work had been causing her to eat and sleep more in her off hours. I wasn't too sure he bought the story but he left her to clean up the mess with no more questions."
"Over the next few weeks we all were being pushed to our limits. Arguments were bursting out all over the lab. Derek and Lloyd were often arguing about who would get to name the new chemicals we found, among other things. Like who's turn it was to empty the waste bins or wash the beakers. It was as if the more time we spent around this plant the more on edge we became. Like some toxic substance was slowly making us sick."
"Your grandfather was the first to discover the danger. He was in his office one night logging our findings when he came across some horrific discoveries. One of the chemicals, that came from a crystal found in Murkland's caves, was processed in our factory and was harmless on it's own, but if it was mixed with a few of the new chemicals we had discovered....," Alma paused and let out a deep sigh.
I asked if she needed to take a break and she said no, she was nearly finished with her tale and she continued again. "It turned out we had just received a shipment of those crystals to be processed. Your grandfather logged his findings and sent a report to Dr George. But it would never be received."
"Although he has always denied it, the security cameras caught it all. Late that night, Lloyd came back into the office. He went straight to George's office and deleted all the files about your grandfather's discovery. Lloyd claims he has no memory of this. That the last thing he remembered was going to sleep in an unusually cozy room to the sound of a strange hum."
"The next morning George was in the lab trying to finish his work on the cure for the common cold. At the same time the crystals were being processed in the room below....Well, the theory is that some of the dust from the crystals was sucked up into the vents and found it's way into the lab. The next thing we know George started yelling for us all to leave the room immediately. But we had all been exposed to the foggy gas that filled the room behind us."
"The lab was to be closed down for the next week or so while they cleaned up the spill. It was in a strange way perfect timing for your grandmother, she delivered a healthy baby girl. I went to see her and we both talked about the accident. I complained about a pain in my neck that wouldn't go away and told her Derek and Lloyd had the same thing. So far she and your grandfather were fine."
"But as I was leaving I heard her coughing. A sound I'll never forget. Soon the whole town was coughing and then the next town over and so on until it spread to the ends of the world. Once the coughing started, there was little to be done. No one had ever seen this kind of virus before and there was nothing that could cure it once a person became infected. Strangely enough, a few of us were immune."
"Unfortunately your grandparents were not one of them. They both caught the virus and were lost. Soon I found myself standing in a lonely nursery holding your mother. I talked to her softly and told her I'd have to be her new mommy for a while. The poor dear didn't even have a name yet. So I called her my little pal. She had no signs of the virus. She was completely immune."
"Over the next couple of years things became worse for the world in general. A sickening amount of lives were lost. The government was stretched too thin to provide real help and as a result looting and violence were too common. We also feared a nuclear holocaust as many of the power plants had too few to man them. There were also strange zombie like creatures running around. The virus had changed them into infected monsters. It became obvious I could no longer provide safety to my little Pal."
"So I took her to the closest government safe camp. She had the saddest look on her face, like she knew I was going to abandon her. But I knew it was for the best. They could keep her safer here than I could. Besides, Derek, Lloyd and I were going to try and work on a cure for this, this plague."
"The man in charge at the camp was a sort of scruffy looking fellow. I could tell he was worn thin from the events that had passed. I told him I had an orphaned child who needed looking after. He made a record of her and filed it away. The name on the paper was Pally Style. It was the only name she had ever known. The name I had given her, my little pal."
"Afterward he took us to the orphaned children bunk house and I said my goodbyes. I'll tell you what. I went to the top university in the country and studied hard to graduate at the top of my class, with honors! But saying goodbye to that little girl was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life."
"I left with my part of my heart staying in that old bunk house. I'd spend the next eighteen to twenty years wondering if I had done the right thing. Wondering if she'd even remember me or anything of her life before this old camp."
"After that I came back here. We tried to find a cure for the virus, but it seemed it was not to be found with anything in this world, after all the plant that caused it all was from some alien origin. It wasn't until about five or six years after the virus spread that it seemed to start dying off on it's own. The dust began to settle and the air to clear, as they say. Time passed and we, the survivors, remained. Trying to make a new start out of a broken world."
She finished her story and I thanked her before she went to take a nap. The memories and worn her out. There were still a lot of unanswered things, a few wholes in her story perhaps. Just where did Dr. George find that plant? Who erased Lloyd's memory of deleting the files? I was now also very curious about the life my mother lived at the camp. I decided to talk to her next.