The first symptom of the virus wasn’t a sore throat or vomiting. It was denial.
Way back in the year 2018, Amelie was thirteen, and viruses were the last thing on her mind. She was all about school, working at her mom’s video store and riding her bike. Gliding along the shores of the Outer Banks in the glow of Earth’s rings, she dreamed of riding the Tour de France one day. But things got a little strange when she delivered “Paper Moon” to the nutty professor. He claimed to be from an alternate Earth where America won the Cold War — and no one nuked the moon.
She laughed. But he wasn’t joking. He said “Respect the Octopus. Listen to its song.”
A couple of years later, there was another war. Nobody knew who started it, but a bioweapon that combined the worst of the Spanish flu and rabies ended it. The islanders called it ‘Mommuck’, an old outer banks term meaning ‘bad craziness’.
Most of the people who got Mommucked died fast. Others turned into raging monsters who had a talent for eating faces.
Five years later, Amelie is still the fastest person on the Island. She’s the only person in Avalon, the last girl standing. Armed with her father’s guns and her mother’s determination, she managed to outrun and defeat every Mommuck in Avalon. Now, everything is hers, from Dirty Dick’s Crab Shop to Miz Daisy’s mushroom patch.
But something — or someone — is out there, sabotaging her octopus traps. Whatever or whoever it is, they’re fast, smart and out to get her. There’s only one former person she knew like that — the nutty Professor from alt-Earth.
Read this story and more in the limitless Visions VII: Universe anthology:
Dawn was naked and sweating, trying to hold an Amazon warrior pose. I was sketching her, my pencil like a wisp of wind following the curls of her hair, the gold light dancing on her round belly, the curve of her toes. This was all I’d ever need, a beauty that blocked out the rude noises of the real world.
“Peter!” she shouted.
I jumped. My eraser bounced across my lap, followed by my pencils. I tried to grab them but instead smeared the drawing. Ruined.
“You really don’t hear a thing I say!”
I was about to get mad, but then my bones started to ache. I could feel when she was going to cry the way an old mariner senses rain. If I said anything contrary, the tears would pour down.
“I just told you I quit my job!”
“Oh, heck.” I said, gathering up my pencils “Why’d you do that?” If it wasn’t for her job slinging Kombucha at Cafe Bliss, we’d never make the rent…
Read more What Would Teddy Do?