In the deadly silence, someone coughed.
Marsh pulled out her flashlight which emitted a pale glow upon the damp room.
Marsh scaled the room.
On her left, Darius and Izzy sat nearly asleep leaned against each other until the light from Marsh awoke the two.
Or was it the cough?
Next to them was Isabelle who clutched a soggy pillow tightly against her chest in fear. Her soft and blonde hair glowed modestly in the white light. Her eyes squinted as she glared at her friend angrily.
Almost touching Isabelle was Isaac who had nothing to do with anything. His eyes widened at the sight of his friend lighting up a flashlight that had been left off for centuries. Isaac adjusted his glasses and leaned away from his wheelchair that he used to prop himself up at night.
On Marsh’s right was a death girl who went by the name of Aeris. She hid silently underneath the bags of food that had been stored in a large pile. Although she couldn’t hear anything, she knew what could happen next.
“Well, who did it?” Marsh asked.
The teenagers glared at each other.
Marsh’s eyes stared at Darius and Izzy while Izzy’s stared at Isabelle.
“I didn’t do it,” Darius exclaimed, “and neither did Izzy. I was next to her the whole time!”
Marsh looked at Izzy who silently shook her head.
“Isabelle?” asked Marsh.
“No! Of course not.” Isabelle stated, “Besides, I would confess if my friends’ life depended on it!”
Marsh nodded, knowing it was true. Isabelle had been widely known for her loyalty. Whenever she borrowed something, she would give it back no matter what. This one time, Isabelle borrowed a pencil from Marsh. The next day Marsh moved and they couldn’t see each other anymore so Isabelle went to deliver the pencil back. However, it seemed Isabelle had changed ever since the plague broke out.
Marsh stared at Isaac. His eyes widened.
“Was that you?” asked Marsh.
“No,” he replied, “my life is less important than anyone other life.”
Marsh finally looked at Aeris who had slowly began to munch on a yellow apple.
The produce had some mold on it but seemed bitter enough for the girl to be pleased.
Aeris sneered as the light shone in her eyes. Somehow, it had caught her attention.
“Aeris? Did you cough?” Marsh spoke in sign language.
“No.” Aeris replied with her mouth full of apple mush.
Marsh stood up frustratingly.
The flashlight emitted the whole bunker and exposed the boarded up windows and wooden floor. The wood was slowly decaying and the roofs dripped with rain water which left a damp scent in the room.
“Who was it!” Marsh franticly screamed.
Isabelle stood up.
“I think I heard it come from those two’s direction!” she said while pointing in Darius and Izzy’s direction.
“What? That’s poposterous!” Darius objected.
“What about you Isabelle and your boyfriend!?” yelled Izzy.
“What?! He’s not my boyfriend and he’s defiantly not who coughed! You just hate us!”
“Enough!” Marsh shouted.
“Look, I see why none of us want to confess. All of you are familiar with how it works.”
“What do you mean?” asked Isabelle and Izzy, nearly in unison.
“We all know that one of will have to be killed but if we didn’t kill who coughed then everyone would get the disease. That’s how this all started anyways, with a cough. So, if nobody will fess up then we might all die tonight.”
Isabelle and Izzy both sat down silently.
Although the light was barely enough, Marsh could see Isaac was blushing slightly. At the moment, he appeared to be guilty. Marsh looked next to her to see Aeris hadn’t heard a single thing anyone said.
Marsh attempted to hold back tears.
At this point, it was either one of them or all of them. Was it really the end of the world?
Isabelle stood up again.
“Come on someone! Fess up wimps!”
Marsh sat astounded at Isabelle’s words.
Marsh chimed in, pleading for someone to fess up but nobody did; it was only silent.
“I say it was Izzy!” Darius screamed.
“What?!” Izzy shouted and punched her boyfriend in the chest. Darius almost lost his breath.
Isaac stood up and stiffened his back.
“Who did it?” he asked.
Isaac quickly sat back down and so did the rest of them.
“Stop!” exclaimed a girl.
Everyone turned around to face a certain corner of the room.
“It was me!” Aeris exclaimed.
All eyes were glued on Aeris.
“I was who coughed. It was all me and not anyone else!”
“But you’re death!” Marsh yelped.
With tears in her eyes, Aeris shook her head. “I wanted to stay out of it. I wanted to stay out of it all. I got the sickness when I first came here and thought I would get better but I never did.”
Marsh went to hug Aeris but she backed away fro Marsh’s arms.
“Who’s going to kill her?” asked Izzy sympathetically. Everyone turned to Isaac except for Marsh who could barely look at him. “No, you don’t mean,” Isaac stuttered, “me?”
“You’re the only one who knows combat Isaac. I’m afraid you have to.” Isabelle finished.
Marsh back away from Aeris.
“Go ahead Isaac.” Aeris whispered.
Isaac walked over to Aeris with a large plank of wood in his hands. Everyone could tell by his facial expressions that he was not okay.
“I’m ready Isaac. Marsh, can you turn off the light, I don’t want anyone to see me die.” Aeris whispered.
Marsh hesitated then turned off the light.
Everyone in the room stood silently.
The only sound that came out was the sound of Aeris breathing heavily.
Marsh covered her ears in fear of what happened. Her one best friend, the person she grew up with, is dead.
“It’s done.” Isaac said plainly.
Marsh turned back on the light and saw Isaac was smeared in a red substance of some sort. Marsh looked away.
Isaac said some sort of prayer to himself then faced away from Aeris’ corpse.
“Let’s move away from her body, she will make us sick if we don’t go.” Isabelle claimed.
The group got up and left to find a new area of the building. They all rest in a corner next to beds with no mattresses on them.
The group settled down and placed their food rations under the frame of the bed.
“It’s late, should we go to bed?” asked Izzy.
Marsh sat down on the floor and clicked the button on the flashlight.
Everything was dark and everything was peaceful.
In the deadly silence, someone coughed.
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