Chapter 1

80 years ago…

"Oliver I want to see them!" I screeched through the tears streaming down my face, "I NEED to see them... How could they just up and leave us like this, what are we going to do now Oliver?" I brought my hands up to my face and was now sobbing so hard I was starting to get sick. My tears were drenching my hands, and I was crying so hard that I was all but gagging into my palms. I fell to the ground, and I felt the strong capable hands of my big brother Oliver catch me before my knees hit the dirt. We were standing just outside of the hospital, amongst the trees in the neighboring forrest. I wanted, no, needed to go back into the morgue and see them, but the staff wouldn't comply with my demands. Oliver rushed me outside before I could cause a bigger scene in the lobby. I couldn't think straight, my body felt disconnected from my brain, I could feel myself going through motions but my emotions were just out of control.

"Dearest Bella, you are not a child anymore, you must accept it. They're gone." Oliver was pleading with me now. His hands ran up and down the sides of my arms in some effort to get me to stop shaking, supposedly a calming motion, but all I felt was pure dread. I knew deep down he was just as angry as myself, but as the big brother he felt the need to act strong for me. But strong was not what I wanted right now. I wanted my parents, I wanted them here with us, I wanted there to have never been an influenza, I just wanted things to go back to normal.

Normal. In our prairie style white house, with our picket fence surrounding our luscious green lawn. Yellow tulips in the boxes aligned on the porch. Mother making ice tea in the kitchen while father sat outside smoking a cigar and reading the paper, and Oliver and I playing hide and seek in the yard with out dog Otto. Normal was perfect. Normal was not having a single care in the world.

"no..No..NO"I kept shouting, newfound tears springing to my eyes. Normal was gone, and lost forever. I couldn't take this anymore, my parents were forcefully ripped away from me and there was no one to blame. I couldn't be strong anymore, I just took off. I ran out of Oliver's arms and down the street back towards our home. It wont ever be the same again. Normal would never exist again for us. I could hear Oliver calling after me, but he knew better than to follow me. I was always a quiet girl, even having a sibling I enjoyed alone time to my thoughts, in fact more often than not I craved it. Often it was too much for me with other people around. Only Oliver understood me like that. I ran down the familiar roads, I've lived in this neighborhood my entire life, just outside of the great Chicago downtown area. I slowed to a walk to admire my surroundings. Attempting to take my mind off of everything that has happened today. Although I knew them all too well, everything looked different now. Everything I saw lost its beauty, there was no sparkle of emotion in anything around me anymore. The birds looked dull and sickly, the grass was dead on the lawns around me. The houses looked old and unkempt. Without my parents I felt alone for the first time, even though I have Oliver, we were both now alone in this world. I looked to my right and into the deep forests that adorned the side of the road, the deep abyss of the unknown. It was scary. But among the green density I saw a speck of white in the tall grass among the even taller trees. As I got closer I could see it was a rabbit. Its pure snow white fur stood out in the greenery. It was the only thing around me that stood out. As I approached even closer, it was quite clear, the pure white I thought I saw was actually stained with dark red blood.

Strewn about the side of the road, it was dead. Just like my parents. They lied to me, they promised they would get better, they promised not to leave. It all came back to me full force and I had to get away, so I ran. I ran into the forest past the carcass of the rabbit. I needed to leave, leave all the death behind. I ran blindly trying to escape my living hell. I wasn't following any path, I was running though the trees, and eventually I ran deep enough until only little speckles of sunlight shone trough the many leaves onto the dirt below where I was. Everything seemed much simpler in the forest, no people, no houses, no problems. It was me and the trees. Brown and green. It all had a calming effect. As I was slowing down to a walking pace the lace of my dress got snagged on a stray branch. The momentum took me down to the ground on my hands and knees. The pain seared through me yet it was dull compared to the pain in my heart. My tights were stained brown and red, but it was no matter. I didn't care about my clothing, something so unbelievably insignificant. I wanted to keep going. I wiped my hands on the bodice of my white dress. The pristine white now had two stripes of dirt and blood along my hips. I inspected my hands closer and waited for more blood to ooze out of the shallow cuts. I took the pointer finger from my other hand and used the blood to draw a heart in the palm of my hand. My love was still so strong, however the salty copper smell was starting to make me lightheaded. I shook it off and wiped my bloody palm on the nearest tree and kept walking.

The trees were starting to open up, and i suspected that I was nearing another road by now. I looked up and could see the dark sky and I could feel a light rain. I was still walking and was soon almost soaked to the bone. The rain was coming down hard now. My hair was sticking to the sides of my face, and I could barely see through the water streaming down my face. I need to get back to Oliver, I don't need to get sick either. Sick like my parents were just days ago...The trees were growing farther apart now, picking up the pace, i expected to find the road again. But it wasn't the road i happened upon.