One day I was talking to my friend Anne and she was complaining about how she didn’t have any ideas for her new book. I understood why it was weird immediately. Anne never stops having ideas. Its kind of weird actually. Both of us have been writers since we were littler kids. She writes mini stories for the school paper. I’m a journalist for the same paper, and as a side job I do compendiums for my parents used book store on the corner. We have lots of friends on the paper and Anne told me how a lot of them too were having a hard time with ideas. It was like a plague was going through writers we knew and causing writers block.
I told Anne about my theory and she said that it made perfect sense. She freaked out. “How are we going to get rid of it?!” she said and I tried to reassure her saying there probably wasn’t a plague. But maybe I was also trying to reassure myself. I wondered if it was possible that there really was a plague and that it was just causing writers block. It didn’t seem too bad but then I realized the paper would have to stop, and the school wouldn’t get funding for super fun projects. We have to stop this. I thought to myself.
I tried to tell people about it but they all told me to save it for the books (those were my non-writer friends). That didn’t make me feel any better even though I guess it wasn’t really supposed to. I didn’t know what to do, was there a way to avoid getting it? Was there an antidote? Had someone created this plague? If so, then why? I decided that the best course of action was to put myself in quarantine until I could answer these questions.
I left Anne in the student writer’s office and went to the supermarket to get some serious quarantine supplies. I got marshmallows, tomato soup, cheese sticks, super disinfectant spray and an air filter. When I got home I put all the furniture in my room except my bed in to the hallway and I sprayed the rug and bed so much they were damp. I taped the windows shut except for one and put the air filter in it. Then I taped around the edges of that so no dirty air would squeeze its way in. I sprayed my laptop and all the air in the place. I gave Roger, my cat a bath and then sprayed him and put tape over the drains of the sink and tub. I spackled some holes I had made in the wall when I was taking down the picture frames and I decided to use packaging tape because that seemed like it would seal it better.
When I was done sealing the place up and cleaning, I decided to have some dinner. I had tomato soup and a grilled cheese and I gave Roger a can of tuna. He really likes tuna. I can never give him chicken because he won’t eat it and I’m afraid he’s going to starve himself. When I got up the next morning I had a waffle and some milk. Roger drank the milk. I was getting kind of bored. I had tossed out my TV and I shorted out my mini-laptop when I sprayed it. I decided I should go for a walk.
I put on a rubber Tyvek suit, a respirator and some goggles my parents had, and set out for my walk. I walked through Fort Greene park, sat on the hills for a while, thought about what I should do. I reasoned that I probably wasn’t going to be able to keep myself in quarantine forever. I saw a little flash of color out the corner of my eye and I turned my head so fast I got whiplash. It looked like a person in a suit running but it couldn’t possibly have been because it was going much too fast. Then there was another one! I figured I was probably just fatigued, so I went home to take a nap.
When I woke up I found a bunch of men who looked like what had been running so fast in the park, in my room looking down on me. Naturally, I screamed at the top of my lungs. Of course my parents were already at work. I picked up Roger, who till now had been sleeping next to my pillow and threw him at the closest man. I knew he wouldn’t get hurt because he’s a cat and they never do. Apparently even a cats reflexes don’t cover being swallowed alive and whole. That’s what happened. In the split second that Roger was vaulting through the air, the man smoothly lowered himself and opened his jaw wide enough for Roger to fly in. A moment later I heard a little metallic meow from where the man’s stomach should have been. The man slid back up and I finally figured out why else these guys were so weird. They were robots! That’s how they had run at those impossible speeds in the park and how Roger went in so easily.
But who were they?! And what did they want with me?! I had no idea. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do so I stopped screaming and in a small careful voice I asked who they were and what they wanted. One of them who had a painted mustache stepped forward and said that they were Eric. I found this confusing and asked how they could all be one person. He explained that E.R.I.C. was their acronym for Evil Robots In opposition of Compendiums. Man these guys were freaks. I asked them what they wanted and why they didn’t like compendiums, after all they keep things so nice and organized.
This guy with the mustache must have been the leader because he was the only one who spoke and he spoke very firmly saying that they were the robots who made the leading brand name video games. Now I got it. Books would bring competition to video games. And what’s the best way to get rid of competition? Help them to cease existence. He told me this and I realized that this was the weirdest situation I had ever been in.
But soon after, he offered me a way out. I told them I would do whatever they wanted as long as I could live. And if I could have Roger back. I heard a sliding sound and the mustache man reached behind him and pulled out Roger. He handed Roger to me and Roger clung on to me as if his life depended on it. Mustache man put a sack over my head and tried to push me out the door. I could see right through the sack because it was a very loose weave and amazingly enough I did a pretty good job of resisting to move. I quickly tossed Roger over to my bed, pulled off the sack and ran in to the hall to get my old metal baseball bat. I picked it up and ran back in and whacked off mustache man’s head. Apparently I am way stronger than I thought I was. I took a swing at the next closest one and took out its left leg. When it fell its head kind of just rolled off. While it was down I finally got a chance to count how many there were. There were seven and the five left were advancing on me! I ran as fast as I could to the kitchen and grabbed a cleaver. I didn’t have to leave the kitchen because the E.R.I.C.s had followed me. I threw the butcher’s knife at one of them and it went through him and into the one behind him.
The last three were even more vicious and one grabbed my hand as I reached for another knife. He twisted my wrist. I withheld my scream. I saw something I could use as another weapon but it was a little too far to reach. I started to inch towards it as the robot kept twisting and the others stared at my wrist, maniacally cackling. Finally, I reached the old spray bottle from when I was training Roger not to scratch the corners of my bed. My wrist had done a full turn now and it was too painful to look but I slowly managed to take off the nozzle. Just when I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, I screamed and dumped the water down the robot’s neck.
With my only usable hand I grabbed another knife and tried to throw it. I missed, and the knife trembled as it stuck into the wall. I tried to reach another but before I could the two robots grabbed my good wrist. I screamed as absolutely loud as I could, hoping somebody would hear. Then my voice faltered. I was losing it because of all the screaming. I tried to move but I couldn’t. All I could do was cry. Which I did.
I thought of something that might help me but would probably break my foot. It was a desperate measure but it was that or nothing. So I jumped up and kicked one of the robots in the face. He let go of my wrist as his head slid off backwards. I picked up some cans of tuna and chicken and threw them at the last one which gave me just enough time for me to grab the last knife on the magnet strip. I threw it as straight and hard as I could. It went in right where his stomach should have been. Then I remembered that part was hollow!
The last E.R.I.C. pulled it out and threw it at me. I would love to say I dodged it but that would be lying. It took off my arm with the broken wrist and I fell to the ground in pain. I started to see little black spots and knew what I had to do. I crawled over to my old arm, took the sleeve and tied it around the stump to stop the bleeding. I stood up. Wobbled to the wall that had the knife in it then walked toward the robot, knife in my only good hand. I didn’t know why, but the robot wasn’t fighting back and its eyes had lost their usual glow.
Then I realized his battery had probably died! But just for good measure I chopped off his head. I didn’t have the strength to stand up anymore so I fell to my knees and crawled to my bedside stand to get my cell phone. You may be thinking, ‘Whats she going to do, text her BFF saying Evil robots that hate compendiums came and tried to take her hostage but she chopped off their heads and in the battle she lost her arm?’ But no. I called 911 and told them my address. Then I passed out.
When the paramedics got there I was drifting in and out of sleep. I had been mumbling about robots and tuna and bad books and cleavers when they found me and they told me that I was just a little delirious from blood loss. I went in to a coma for a couple days, and when I woke up they told me I was lucky to be alive and that I should get some rest. I asked them if they had cleaned up the E.R.I.C. robots and they all froze.
The doctor took my temperature and told me that there were no evil robots when they arrived and that there had only been my dead assailant on my rug. They said my cat was o.k. but that I was being moved to a farm house with my parents to relax for a couple years. During these few years I have carefully recounted what happened.
Age 13, Grade 7