Okay, my first fanfic. I just finished reading the first book, Wither, and this idea just popped into my head. I'm open to any constructive criticsm. So correct me if I'm wrong on anything; I felt that the deaths would be different. You know, like earlier deaths of the new generation and stuff. Inspired by the song, "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.

April 6, 2129.

This is today.

Mary Susan White.

I am she.

19 years old.

That is my age.

April 7, 2110.

That is my birthday.

Tomorrow, I will be twenty years old. I am the oldest of the children from the First Generation. My parents were not, however, the first to have children. Some of them died after being born. It seems that the children are not as strong and healthy as their parents. I was the first successful child. Even then, I have suffered from sickness, and somehow I survived.

I have this bad feeling, though, that I will not be here for long. I have a feeling that tomorrow might be my last day. That I will wake up in the morning, take my last breath, and die. Without a trace.

Others have the same prediction.

But for now, I walk around the school, shaking hands with other students and greeting reporters with fake cheer while they ask me a million questions that I get on every other birthday.

How does it feel to be the strongest of the Second Generation?

I feel great; like I can overcome anything-almost. I can't fly.

I don't bother telling them about that feeling in my stomach. It would upset everyone, give them that same feeling of doubt and worry. The world, or at least what's left of it, doesn't need it.

What do your parents and siblings and friends think about it?

My parents are more than happy. They're really proud, of themselves and me and all the other people that gave me this oppurtunity. My siblings are really happy, too, to know that their sister is strong and healthy and alive. My friends think the same thing, no doubt.

They surround me with other questions about my blood, my DNA, and other things that I really have no care for. It's a big, televised event. I can imagine other people sitting down to watch me as I walk around. A scary thought, yes, but somehow comforting, relieving. Maybe because I feel like I'm doing the same for them, because I'm comforting and relieving them from the stress of thinking that their children might die, and that their last resort is nothing like a paradise after all.

I go to on of the many bathrooms in the college. I don't want people to see me like this. I go into one of the stalls, locking myself in there, and wait for the coughing to start up again. It's been like this for a while. Not very long, but at the same time, for much too long. Something's different today, however. When I cough for the fourth time, I see a bit of blood splattered on my hand. I sigh and walk out of the stall, heading towards the sink.

I wash my hands and dry them off. For a while, I lean on the wall with one hand pressed to my forehead and the other moving up and down slowly across my stomach. I feel horrible. I start coughing again. This time, more blood comes out of my throat, and I want it to stop more than anything. It hurts my whole body. I begin to feel weak and fraile as I slide down the wall, squatting on the ground as more and more blood erupts from my system.

Something outside makes me try harder to stop, but I can't. I watch as a woman with a small girl, no more than four years old, opens the door into the bathroom. The girl is complaining to her mother about a headache. I see that the mother is a First Generation, forty years old and looking healthier than me by a long shot.

She stops in her tracks and looks at me. I try to imagine what I must look like to her, a small girl with weak bones who is supposed to be the hope for the last remaining continent, coughing up blood until she almost feels like she's about to throw up herself. She screams and runs into the hallway with the girl left with me in the bathroom.

She walks up to me. "Why are you coughing blood?" She asks, intelligently curious.

I continue coughing, realizing that the girl is older than she appears. What a lousy Second Generation. I try to stop, and I do, long enough for me to respond, "Because I'm sick."

She eyes me as I gain enough strength to stand up slowly, still leaning on the wall. "I thought you were supposed to be the strongest." She must've recognized me, realized who I actually was underneath all the blood and desiese and weakness.

I'm not coughing anymore, so I respond with a rough, scratchy voice. "That's what I'm supposed to be. Not what I am."

The woman returns to the bathroom with a nurse hastily following behind. The nurse takes one look at me and hurries me out of the bathroom with a strong grip into the arms of other doctors and nurses. They poke me and ask me questions, trying to get out as much information as they can. I give them the best answers I can imagine. However, most of them end up being, "I don't know." They must understand, eventually, that I truly don't know, because one shot to my arm delivered by an old First Generation knocks me out cold.

When I come to, the first thing I see is a sharp needle poking out of my elbow, connected to a needle that's hooked to a intervally-beeping machine. It's not the first time I've seen this, but it is the first time that I've felt like this.

A doctor outside the door is talking to my mother, who clings tightly to my father as though the world is ending. Tears are falling down both of their faces, but most of them are dripping from Mother's eyes and saturating Father's shirt. I watch as the doctor turns away, then faces them again before his lips move again and he walks away. I see Mother cry endlessly and bury her face and wet, puffy eyes into Father's shirt again. He rubs her back soothingly for a long moment before they both walk, relunctantly, into my hospital room.

Mother sits breathlessly in the chair beside the bed I rest in. Father stands on the oppisite side, looking down at my barely-open eyes. He leans down and kisses my forehead. My eyes open a bit more, looking at the surprisingly sullen expression on his usually joyful face. "Daddy?" I breathe. My voice is weak and child-like, struggling for breath.

He kneals beside me and looks at me. "Mary?"

I breathe deeply. "What's going on? I'm scared, Daddy." I sound so different. I'm terrified, not scared. I want answers. What's going on with me? What's going to happen? More importantly, what is happening?

Father takes his hand in mine. "Sweetie, I don't know how to say this." He sighs and looks at the ground, obviously afraid to make contact with me. Because he's crying and he usually doesn't, or because of what he's about to say? I want to know. Or do I? "When the First Generation was created, the were super-human, sort of. Right?"

I nod weakly. My cheek rubs against the cool, comforting, fresh-smelling pillow. My sweaty brown hair sticks to it, and I don't bother fixing it.

"When they had children, a virus was formed. The doctors haven't known about it for long. They say it effects everyone. It kills them . . . before they should die. They . . . don't live long. Do you understand?"

I think I do. Are they saying I'm going to die today? Tomorrow? What's going on? I scream the words in my empty head. They echo around and around, the words and letter getting jumbled up, mixing together, and dissapearing in all.

"They think it strikes at a certain age. Right now, they're thinking it'll be twenty."

I hear Mother start to sob again. It scares me. I know what's going on now.

I'm going to die tomorrow.

I feel my eyes get watery. I feel my chin burn with agonizing pain. I open it, and the tears start to fall down my face. I'm going to die. They run down my face, down my neck. They run behind my eyes, escaping their way into my ears, falling into my hair, on my pillow and sheets. I sit up, weakly and let them pour down my body. I dig my head into my small, pale hands. The tears come falling down-faster and faster-until I can't stand it anymore. I draw in a quivering, shaky breath and watch as my father takes Mother out into the hallway.

"Wait!" I scream. "Don't go!"

I can hear Mother and Father's sobs over my own shaky breaths. I whine and wimper in my bed, the IV hurting my elbow and the machine beeping wildly. Doctors pour into the room, telling me to calm down, to stop crying, but I can't stop crying. I want to be with them. If I'm going to die, I want to die with them. I want to die in my family's care, not inside this seemingly huge, sterile room where I might be taken and broken apart. I continue to cry, wailing and screaming with all my strength.

"I want to go home!" I moan loudly. I scream again, refusing to give up.

"Momma! Daddy! Don't leave!" I scream. I want them to hear me. I want them to come back for me. I can barely make out the shape of a nurse running out into the hallway. My mother is out there, with my father pulling her back. I stuggle harder, knowing that she heard me. "Momma! Don't leave without me! I want to go home!" I scream again, louder. It's taking a lot of my strength. My heart is pounding. The machine beeps louder and faster every second, it seems. My head hurts. My muscles ache. But I won't give up. I'm going to go home if it kills me. I scream again.

Mother is sobbing uncontrollably now. I can see her in the window. The nurse waves her off; Father tries to pull her back. The nurse enters the room again with something in her hand. I pull my arm back as she tries to stick the needle in. She tries again. This time, I let her. I calm down. The doctor lets go of me. I moan softly, crying and breathing deep, quivering breaths. "Momma . . ." I cry. "Don't go . . ."

These are the last words I ever say.

April 7, 2129.

This is the day I wake up, coughing blood again, as my father kneels beside me. He reaches for my hand, kisses it, and says, "Happy birthday, Mary."

These are the words I waited for yesterday. These are the words I expected in my dream, not the words I thought I'd hear in a nightmare.

These are the last words I ever hear.