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Deathbell Command

By @Gemreader

Deathbell Command

We were zooming through space towards Earth in the ELM 

(Earth Landing Mechanism.) No one had been there for over 200 years because of the deathbell plague. We weren’t going to return to Earth ever again. At least not until our population was increased and the B3LL had trouble sustaining it. Our team was being sent to Earth because the government decided we were the most expendable team ever. They sent us to a disease ridden planet as guinea pigs to see if the air was breathable and the world livable again. I was in a team of 6 Women: Sam the captain, Isabelle the mechanic, Lilly the doctor, Mary the botanist, Ally the epidemiologist, and me, Mira the genius strategist. 

    “Entering Earth atmosphere,” A robotic voice said while the words flashed across a screen in front of me.

    “Well everyone should sit down I guess,” Sam said as she pulled on her straps to ensure their tightness. I strapped myself into my chair and held onto the handles on either side of me as we gained speed to an exhilarating pace heading straight down to Earth. Soon we slowed and bounced to a soft stop on an old dried up field. 

    “Uhh, what should we do now,” Isabelle asked as we all unstrapped ourselves.

    “We should go out and get to work,” Sam said as if it was obvious.

    “No,” Ally said blocking the door, ”We should let me get my gear out and test the air so there isn’t a possibility of us all dying immediately when we step outside.”

    “Yeah we should probably do that first,” Sam said slowly turning around and walking away from the door.  

    Once Ally had tested the air and confirmed that there were only small traces of the Plague and it was not enough to affect us in any way we stepped out onto the surface of Earth. 

    “According to my maps, we’re somewhere called California,” I said, looking at a map of the United states, ”It’s average temperature is 110 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    “Well, That explains the heat but not the flowers,” Mary said looking around. Only then did I notice the tons of flowers surrounding us. They were a deep purple and had little bell shaped purple bulbs covering the entire flower. 

    “Nobody touches any of these flowers until I have a chance to check them out,” Mary said, pulling on a glove and picking one of the flowers. 

    We all started unpacking the ELM and setting it up as a semi-permanent living structure. Well everyone but Mary; she was performing tests on the flowers we had found earlier. Once we were done setting up the ELM as a living structure we took out 6 of the individual meal packets and ate our dinner. 

    The next morning Mary had the results on the tests from the night before.

    “The flowers are completely safe for humans but they’re not safe for human consumption,” Mary told us once we had all gathered for breakfast in the morning. 

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We had been on Earth for 8 days and I was liking it. Even though it was super hot it was also way quieter than it was on the B3LL and there is way more water on Earth. At least it was good until Mary started acting weird. She would eat her whole day’s rations in one meal and then wouldn’t eat for days. We all worried about her even though she claimed she felt fine we could all hear her coughing non-stop every night. Then one night we didn’t hear her coughing. The next morning we all feared the worst, but when we got up she was already up and looking much better than previous days. She had even spruced up the ELM with some of the flowers from the field outside. 

    “Uhhhh, so why are you up so early,” Isabelle asked Mary as she started heading towards the door.

    “The early bird gets the worm,” Mary said in a chipper tone none of us had ever heard her use.

    “Yeah but you hate the morning,” Sam said.

    “Well not anymore, I thought about it and realized that the more I’m awake the more I can get done.”

    “None of this sounds like the Mary we know,” Lilly whispered to me.

    “Yeah, definitely not,” I whispered back. Ally walked over and picked up one of the flowers to smell it. 

    “Ewww,” Ally said, “this smells disgusting. Why would you bring this into the house Mary.”

“I quite like how they smell and how they look,” Mary said curtly. That night while we were going to sleep I heard someone get out of their sleeping bag and walk over to the living room space. I got up to see who it was, and what they were doing, and what I saw stunned me. Mary was sitting on the ground with a pile of the purple flowers next to her. Her hands and mouth were painted purple and she was unmoving on the ground. Mary was dead and I finally realized what the flowers were called. They were deathbells the plague was named after. I stumbled back to the sleeping area and fell to the floor sobbing. I knew none of us were safe from the grip of the Deathbells; but I did know one thing. Ally was next and nobody could stop what was going to happen to us. As I slowly lost consciousness I heard a deep throaty cough coming from the corner where Ally slept.

⇎        ⇎        ⇎

I woke to the sounds of sobbing and Sam leaning over me with a concerned look on her face.

    “Thank god you’re awake,” Sam said, “what’s going on?” I didn’t know what she meant for a second but then what I saw last night came rushing back to me.

    “I know why the plague is called the Deathbell now,” I said,  “The flowers are the Deathbells, the flowers surrounding us are what killed 99.99 percent of Earth’s population. There’s no way to stop what’s going to happen, but Ally is the next victim of the Deathbell.”

    “What!?!?” Sam yelled. Once we were all gathered near Mary’s dead body I explained everything. 

    “Let me get this straight,” Isabelle said standing up, “Were surrounded by the diseased flowers that almost wiped out humanity. You get the disease by touching the flower and the poison from the bells take over your brain and make you eat the flowers till it kills you.”

    “Yeah pretty much,” I said, “ and I saw Ally touching one of the flowers yesterday. Plus I heard her coughing last night.”

    “Oh no, oh no, were all doomed aren’t we,” Lilly said quietly as she started rocking back and forth. 

    “No we just have to get off this planet as soon as possible,” Sam said. 

    “Uhhh, slight problem with that,” Isabelle started.

    “What now,” Sam said, getting angrier by the second. 

    “Someone sabotaged the engine,” Isabelle said, scooting back to give Sam some space.

    Who was it?” Sam said with a growl hidden behind her words and an accusing glare on her face.

    “Probably Mary,” Isabelle said frankly, “and for the record even if I work around the clock it could take me up to a month to fix the engine, and even then it still might not ever work.” Sam then got up and started pacing in furious circles. 

    “What do you mean it might not ever work again,” Sam yelled

    “I mean that Mary smashed the engine repeatedly with a sledge hammer and I might not be able to fix it,” Isabelle said, getting exasperated. 

    “Anyway we have to decide what to do with Ally,” I said, bringing us back to the topic at hand,“ She could infect all of us, and we all know she’ll die in the next couple of days.”

    “But Is it ethically correct to just throw her out,” Lilly said timidly.

    “You guys are the worst, you’re all talking about me like I’m not here,” Ally said, “I know you think I’ll start eating them in the next couple of days but I know I can resist the urge.”

    “Ok, we’ll trust you but if you show any signs of attraction towards the deathbells were going to throw you out,” Sam said.

    “I promise I won’t,” Ally said.

⇎        ⇎        ⇎

2 mornings later we found Ally laying with Mary in her pile of deathbells. There were only 4 of us left and anyone who touched a deathbell had to go.

⇎        ⇎        ⇎

“We’ve been here for 3 months now and you still haven’t made any actual progress on the engine. What have you been doing?!?!” Sam had been yelling a lot lately(mostly at Isabelle about the engine repairs.) And I mean a lot. We hadn’t gone outside once since Ally had died and we were all going a bit crazy. Some more than others. I was doing pretty well with it, but now that the rain was coming in we were about to go out again. As we walked out of the door Sam stepped in a puddle of water. We thought nothing of it till Lilly saw there was a deathbell floating in the water. The flower brushed against the exposed skin on Sam’s ankle. We all scrambled to get inside; Sam so she wouldn’t get thrown out, and me, Lilly, and Isabelle to lock Sam out. We won and that night we could hear a light sobbing and heavy coughing coming from right outside the door. 3 days later we found her in the field of flowers, hands and face painted purple. 3 were dead and we wouldn’t be getting off Earth anytime soon.

⇎        ⇎        ⇎

4 months later the engine was fixed but Isabelle was sitting with Sam in the field hand and face painted purple. All 4 women were decaying but at least me and Lily had survived and were packing up the ELM back into a ship. I had been studying the manuals of how to fly the ship, and I felt ready. That night we took off, set it on course and slept. As I was going to sleep I heard a thick throaty cough coming from the other room. Lilly must have been infected before we left and I could only assume she had brought some to infect me too. The next morning I felt as if there was a constant war going on in my mind and by the end of the day the deathbells had won. I could hear what Lilly was thinking. I took another hour or 2 to get back to the B3LL and no one greeted us when we got back. We assumed everyone was asleep. We snuck to the half filled reservoir in the back of the ship and dropped the extra flowers we had brought into it. We started slurping the water as fast as possible and were dead by the time the human race was wiped out for good.

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  1. Jemma Dyer

    Aug 8, 2021

    Sorry if there any mistakes in the story. If you tell me if you see one I will try to fix it.

    Please complete the required fields.



    0 Replies Aug 8, 2021
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