We’ll get back to our misadventures with Blue soon enough. We’re very excited to be sharing our experience with everyone. Right now, I wanted to let you know about an amazing opportunity to help support us.
I wrote a book. It’s called The Spanish Mar, and it’s available here for about the price of a gallon of gas. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read it on your computer, smartphone, tablet or anywhere else Kindle apps are available.
You can find out more about the book over at my other site, which you can find here.
Simple enough, the plot revolves around a girl named Eva, who’s just trying to survive the double apocalypse of a supervirus and asteroid hellbent on destroying the world when the most unthinkable and inconvenient thing happens: She falls in love with a boy named Mar. Together, the two of them and a band of survivors work to save what’s left of the world, and more importantly, what’s left of hope.
It’s a good read, if I do say so myself. At the very least, if you’re following this blog, clearly you find something I’m saying appealing. Now imagine me writing as a Mexican teenage girl avoiding snipers on Olympic Boulevard, komodo dragons and cannibals. Yes, of course. No apocalypse is complete without cannibals. That’d be like Christmas without stockings.
Just for a taste, here’s a short preview.
Hope you enjoy! And follow us on twitter for more updates on Blue.
Remember how the Titanic sank? How the violinists played right up until the moment it turned on its big head and began to dive into the ocean? Remember how everyone around them was running around in a fur-clad panic, screaming at the top of their lungs for God or just about anyone else to save them? If there’s any sort of value to take from this, it’s that we don’t confront the end quietly. Not quietly AT ALL.
Honestly, I feel so stupid doing this. I was never one of THOSE girls. You know, the kind with the pink journals with the locks on the side that wrote down the name of every boy that looked at them. Nope. Not my style. But everyone says this might be the only book that makes it with us, and my words might be “a lasting legacy to the spirit of the human race.”
I just want to make it clear that this isn’t about the end of the world. It’s about the beginning of the new one.
Frankie Wong is the first person I see die from the Panphagius virus. He’s in my math class, a skinny Asian guy with a mop of black hair that weighs his head down so that he spends more time staring at the cracks in the sidewalk than anything else. Every day, he takes off on his skateboard as soon as class is out.
The day Frankie gets sick, he looks weird in class. He’s coughing uncontrollably, his skin looks greyish purple and he keeps saying he feels dizzy. He refuses to go to the nurse. Frankie is hardcore like that, but I think it’s only because his tiger mom is harder. He doesn’t head out until he pukes up his lunch just barely before the end of the school.
As I’m walking home, I see him slumped over on a bus bench, his hair sticking to his forehead in thick, sweaty strands.
“Frankie, you look horrible,” I say. “Give me your bag. I’ll carry it for you.”
He gives me a zombie stare. “I feel dizzy.”
“I know. Let’s get you home. Does your mom know?”
“I haven’t told her yet. She hates when I miss school.”
Just as Frankie goes to stand up, he bends over with an ear-splitting cough. It’s an announcement.
EVA, the cough blares, THE END OF THE WORLD IS HERE.
When Frankie stands up again…
“Frankie, oh my God!”
“Frankie, you…coughed up blood!”
“I’m fine…I just need to…”
Frankie’s eyes roll back in his head and he crumples to the ground.
“He’s not breathing!” I yell out. “Somebody do something!”
The only somebody around is me. Panicking, my mind races to remember the CPR class my dad made me take. I tilt Frankie’s head to the side to drain his mouth of all the blood. Then I tilt it back and start to give rescue breaths.
EVA! My brain tries to tell me. Homeboy is coughing up blood! That’s usually a really bad thing. You might not want to give him-
Mouth to mouth? My heart answers. No reason to be scared of a little blood. He’s dying!
I feel the air go in but the chest doesn’t puff out. I do it again and see a bulge of air rise up under his ribs. Frankie never starts breathing on his own. When the paramedics show up, they call it after barely a few minutes.
My dad finds me huddled on the curb, my arms roped around my knees. He must have heard about it on the scanner. He talks to the paramedics for a minute and then they point over at me. When he sees me, the police officer in him vanishes and is replaced by worried father. I haven’t cleaned up. Even though I must look like a half-crazed vampire with Frankie’s blood smeared across my face, he kneels down and wraps me up in a giant bear hug. We sit there rocking silently for a few minutes.
“I’m very proud of you, Eva. That was a very brave thing you did back there, trying to save that boy.”
I sob into his uniform. “He didn’t make it! One minute I was talking to him and the next-”
“I know, I know.” He pats the back of my head softly like he’s done since I was a little girl.
“He was sick. What if I got what he got? What if-” When I look up, I can see the terror in his eyes. “What is it, papi?”
“That boy…he had something very wrong with him.”
“You know how you kept trying to do the rescue breathing but he never started breathing?”
“That was because the rescue breaths never got to his lungs.”
“They did! I felt them go in!”
“Mi vida,” he says slowly, before wrapping me up in another hug so tight the only sound left in the world is his voice. “They never got to his lungs because his lungs…his lungs were what he was coughing up.”
Outside, the streets smell like skunks on fire. Bags and bags of garbage spill out of dumpsters, the piles growing until the entire street is a landfill waiting for the garbage trucks that will never come again.
Frankie Wong is the first at school to die from the Panphagius virus. At first, the word on the street is that it’s a really bad flu strain. Everybody thinks this because the botox-brained newscasters with the big hair and the big teeth say this. I don’t. I swallowed some of Frankie Wong’s lungs and I know the truth.
Pretty soon, everyone knows what I know. This is NOT the flu. People drop like flies. Kids leave school and never come back. Hospitals and doctor’s offices overflow with the ill while everyone else stays at home. The world stops to hold its breath.
Dad wakes me up at the crack of dawn, like always for the last twelve years. It’s just me and him, like always, too. He heats an old can of soup on the stovetop for breakfast. When he sips out of the bowl, some of the stew catches on his beard and stains it red.
“You going to work today?” I ask him.
“Got to do the best we can, mija,” he tells me. He buttons the top button on his uniform. The dark blue is just as crisp as ever. The badge, just as shiny. The folds creased and ironed out. He takes pride in protecting and serving. Always has. “You going to the convention center today?” he asks me.
“Got to do the best we can,” I repeat.
“Come on. I’ll drive you down there.”
The convention center is a war zone. They turned it into a makeshift hospital after the hospitals grew too crowded. Soldiers in humvees barricade the roads around it. Thick plastic drapes cover every entrance. Dad drives me around back to the loading docks and lets me off at a security checkpoint.
Inside the main halls, cots and curtains and illness are packed in wall to wall. There are thousands of people with red eyes and runny noses. Early stages. It looks like the cold at first. That’s its parlor trick. It has a long incubation period so it’s spread far and wide. People could have it for weeks, months, before they show any symptoms.
Once it’s ready to get to work, though, things get worse VERY quickly. The Panphagius virus gets its name because of what it does. When cells are infected, they begin to cannibalize each other. It hits the place where it starts the worst. That’s the first and only sign you’re infected. Panphagius feasts on those little air sacs in the lungs like they’re grapes and sends them up your throat in bloody chunks. If you make it past that, things only get worse. Everything starts breaking down. Hair falls out. Lesions form on the skin. Muscles deteriorate to nothing. Organs fail. Imagine flesh-eating bacteria, but everywhere. Like, full on zombie invasion everywhere.
And when that happens, Peter Pan, as the virus is known to most of the world, takes you away to NeverNeverland
Doctors wearing thick masks maneuver their way through the crowd, sticking stethoscopes on victim’s chests and occasionally pointing towards a set of doors at the far end of the hall. When they do, nurses hurriedly cart the stretcher off. Other victims, still strong enough to stand on their own, stand on a nearby wall. They look out with quiet, desperate panic in their eyes.
I shuffle past, my head down. That’s always the hardest part; getting past everyone, knowing they’re not going to make it and that I am.
I make my way up a set of stairs. I pass another security checkpoint, show them my special badge and then go into a small room. When I sit down, a frail old lady smiles my way. Her withered bones betray the serene strength in her eyes. “What are you doing here, my dear?” she asks me. “You don’t look sick.”
The doctors tell me I shouldn’t tell anyone the truth. If people know, some of them are just crazy and desperate enough to rip me apart and drink my blood like kool-aid. But this old lady looks safe.
“I’m immune,” I tell her. “I’m here to give blood samples. The doctors say they might be able to do something with them.”
We’re as rare as unicorns. A percentage so small we might as well be a figment of the imagination.
Outside the windows, they start incinerating a pile of bodies in a parking lot across the freeway. The hairs in my nostrils curl up, refusing to smell that horrible stench.
“It’s exactly like the camps,” the old lady says. Air whistles out of her nose. “I remember it like yesterday. I was only a little girl, but how could I ever forget that smell?”
Her accent is strange, fluid but cut weird around the edges of words.
“Where are you from?” I ask her.
I could never imagine the horrors she experienced long ago, but now, we share this new awful memory. We both know that without anything more being said. I reach over and grab her hand. Tears squeeze out of the corner of my eyes. There’s no hope here. Only the fading warmth of a life long gone.
At night, the fires glow and pump ash so high into the sky that it flutters back down like snow. It’s a scene my nightmares could only wish they made up.
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