The Zone: Part I

The virus had spread to most of the world. Those that were infected lived in fear of what they might say or what they might do. It had torn apart marriages, families, friendships, and even the most harmless of acquaintances. The list of symptoms were so miniscule that most did not realize they had been sick until it was too late. Some, an extremely small percentage, were immune to this disease. Miles was one of the lucky ones – but would you call it luck? He needed to pretend that he was infected and control his emotions to stave off the change that others would find out. This would surely not be a good thing, he thought, and was worried about others that were being taken away to a place that no one has yet returned. They called it, “The Zone.” It was hard to say if anyone there were dead or alive. Miles assumed it was the ladder.

The government thought this new drug would cause a utopian society devoid of strife and differences. It was one of those good ideas that turned out to have dire consequences. Everyone was required within thirty days to report to their district medical facility where they would be injected with the serem. The same cocktail that caused the problem in the first place. Miles had been pretending that he was ill for the last sixty days or so. No one, not even his own wife, detected that he was faking the symptoms. It became tiring at first – until he sort of got used to it. Little did he know, his wife suspected it weeks earlier. She invited a group of friends over for a dinner party in his honor. Her goal was to expose him and send him to The Zone to become cleasned.

“Miles, Hunny, what do you want for dinner tonight? It is your birthday and even though you have terrible taste in food, I guess I have to let you decide because this party is for you,” she asked as she stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room.

“Mira, I would just rather you order Chinese food or something that I like because you really aren’t a good cook. As a matter of fact you kind of suck,” Miles answered without hesitation. He was getting really good at excelling at these sort of confrontations. If he was caught in a lie, even a tiny inconsequential one, Mira would know for sure.

“And you are the worst husband I have ever had. A terrible, sellfish lover, and worst of all a shitty father. You put work before the children and I and I think you like being away from home,” Mira responds with not a hint of emotion in her voice.

“I love to travel because I can’t stand being here with you and your overbearing, vain, painfully annoying high pitched voice. The kids – I love, but the way I feel about you overshadows everything else. Why are you inviting people over tonight with everything that’s going on in the world?”

“Because I think – you are not infected with the virus and I wish to expose you in front of all of our friends. Perhaps they will send you to The Zone and I’ll finally be rid of you.”

“Well, that is good to know. I recieved the same injection as you did. Why would I be the one that is lying. Perhaps it is you who pretends. The guilty ones always have a knack for throwing the blame onto others,” Miles said with a tiny inflection in his voice indicated anger. Luckily, Mira did not pick up on it.

“If you’re lying, I will find out. You will make a mistake sooner or later. And then I will alert the proper authorities. The truth shall set you free darling,” she continued in her monotone almost robotic tone.

“It would be impossible for me to make a mistake. I think you want this to be the outcome so you could get rid of me. I guess that is because you are truly a terrible person. Let the games begin. I am ready for this night. Perhaps all will be revealed.”

The infection locked up the human mind and purged all emotional responses. All who were infected were unable to feel anything any longer. Since lying is an emotional response to getting in trouble or hurting someone’s feelings – that was affected as well. Mira could do a number of things at this party to reveal that Miles had been faking. He would have to be prepared for the what the night would bring. Through the last two months he had finally heard what his wife really thought about him. It was truly heartbreaking. The cheating, the deciet, the lack of companionship was beginning to get to him.

The government had thought this would free the world of violence and nonsensical bickering. All it did was take the humanity out of the world. Miles was unsure of what his future held but Mira, by law, could potentially do anything that would reveal his true intentions. “Feelers,” as they were so aptly referred to were to be reported immediately. If someone is suspected of this treasonous act the government’s tests were far worse than anything Mira could come up with.

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