Sarina, Sweetheart by Megan Carney
Publication date: March 5th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction
Her name is Sarina Wocek. Her breath is poison. She was not born out of love.
Twenty-three years ago, government officials traced the budding epidemic of hemorrhagic fever HF186-2A in south Florida to the Wocek family and their adorable six-week-old daughter, Sarina. Her father, Gregory, admitted his role in genetically engineering a biological weapon with pride. She was taken to a lab hidden in a rural area of New Hampshire. She hasn’t left since.
Her government keepers could cure her, but they won’t. Genetically engineering a child to be a weapon of mass destruction, that’s unethical. Refining a weapon of mass destruction that someone else created? That’s just being clever.
After twenty-three years of captivity, she escapes. She crosses an ocean to put her father and the lab behind her, but it’s not enough. When she sees the first bleeding sore, she knows she didn’t leave the virus behind either.
The only way she’ll be free is by destroying every trace of the lab. She only has one advantage; she doesn’t care if she makes it out alive.
The loudspeakers crackle to life. “Attention, all personnel. This is scenario three. Assume the sprinklers have failed and the RIC is inoperable. Proceed according to the manual. Non-compliant personnel will be disciplined.”
RIC refers to respiratory isolation chamber. It’s a plexiglass rectangle just big enough for me to lie down, equipped with an advanced breathing system. The tangle of pumps, tubes, and tanks pulls in air from outside the coffin, then stores and recirculates every exhalation. The batteries will last for eight hours. If I’m not at the auxiliary lab by then, they will let me suffocate. If the RIC is inoperable, they leave me to burn alive.
I get my earplugs out of a drawer to dull the sound of the alarm.
The walls of my cage are transparent. I watch the luckier ones make their escape as I sit at my desk. I know the scientists by their clothes; they are all civilians. My guards are all soldiers. They wear fatigues, as if this were a military base. Which I guess it is, in a way.
The head psychologist, the one I meet with weekly, sees me watching the spectacle and looks annoyed. We’ll talk about it in our next session, I’m sure. He’s often told me that I should use the distractions available to me to get through fire drills. I think that would make him feel better.
Megan Carney is an author, geek and amateur photographer living in the Twin Cities. She has ten years of experience in the field of computer security. Her previous short story publications include: ‘Flighty Youth’ in the Raritan, ‘Modern Mayhem’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Swing By Close’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Directions’ in the Bell Tower. ‘Swing By Close’ and ‘Directions’ both won first prize in the fiction sections of that issue. The Christian Science Monitor dubbed her self-published photography book, ‘Signs of My Cities’ as having “youthful zest.”
Her non-literary creations include: a robot to clean the bathroom tub, Zim and Gir costumes, No-Dig tomato stakes, StickFriend the bear bag hanger, and a burning coal costume so she could be Katniss for a night.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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