February 3rd, 2013 11:13 EST
Athena's Arrow:A Post-Apocalyptic Tale
"The world will go on without us", she said; whispered even, as if she did not want the others to hear her. The world, the earth, and all her precious glories will sing out in gratitude when the last human takes their dying breath I was young then, only a child when I heard her say these words, but I understood what she meant. I understood that this was her challenge and my challenge, too. To fix the things my ancestors did before me.
It was 2025, the night I watched my grandmother cross over. The entire planet had just been ravaged by a plague that made the bubonic look like the sniffles. Antivirals were useless and 96% of the U.S. population has died by this point. My grandmother was going to die, too. That night, as she held my hand and looked into my eyes, I knew she was leaving me, but leaving me stronger for knowing her. Nana`s strength was gone, but what her body couldn`t say, her eyes conveyed. You are stronger than you think she fought to say, you carry strong genes. If you survived this, you can survive anything. As she said this she tried to smile, but instead she was caught by a coughing fit. Viscous, deep crimson blood sprayed from her mouth onto her gown. I tried to help her clean it, No, Athena! she snapped. You may be a survivor, but let`s not push our luck. I retreated, hating to see my Nana hurt and didn`t want to upset her at a time like this. I loathed seeing her sunken face turn to mine and half smile through her pain.
She had been so good to me since my parents went away. I was only four years old when they had gone to prison to pay for their mountain of sins. My parents were low lives; cronus dealers whose ethics were long worn thin by greed and clouded by bathtub mixed chemicals. Cronus was a new drug that seemed to swallow the U.S. whole after South America became embroiled in their multi-national continental war and subsequently stopped supplying cocaine to their northern neighbors. The drug was much like the bathtub meth of the late 1900s/early 2000s, but it came with an all day high that left users feeling stronger than ever. Some even said that while on cronus, users felt a sense of love like they had never felt before. It was this sense of love that made them feel invincible. They felt they could do anything, be anyone. This is what made cronus users so dangerous, they would attack with full confidence, never doubting their ability to succeed. And it is what made me want to try cronus. I wanted to feel the love that had escaped me my whole life. Luckily I found that love when my grandmother took me under her protective wing.
The day my parents were finally caught, I sat in the backseat of their busted Corolla, like so many times before. I cringed as I heard gunshots ring out from the 3rd floor walk up where they were doing business. Playing opossum, I hid in the back seat, biting my tears. I did not weep for my parents. I knew they were assholes. I cried for the people they would hurt. I cried for children they would leave orphaned.
They had hurt people before. It sickened me to be forced to see them relish in the pain of others. I couldn`t relate or understand their apathy. It`s not normal to already hate your parents at four years old, but I did. And that day, in 2023, only a year and 9 months before the plague broke out, my parents sealed their fate by killing a sleeping three-month old baby. Tyson Levon Gaynes was a casualty of a their so-called war to survive. Like I said, that poor baby wasn`t the first victim of my folks war, so I was happy they got busted. And I may be the worst child in the world to admit this, but when the cops found me in the car the following day (my loving parents escaped on foot, too afraid to risk their own freedom to ensure the safety of their four year old daughter) I gladly spilled the beans. They didn`t even have to bribe me with candy or toys. I sold my parents down the river with a smile on my face and left that station with a skip in my step. My parents saw me one more time after that, right after their sentencing (they received a life sentence plus forty years, not long enough if you asked me). My Nana took me to see them. I would be lying if I said I was pleased. I begged her to let me stay home, but she told me it was the right thing to do. Nana said I needed to confront my anger and hate in order to let it go. I suggested to her that my anger and hate were perfectly content the way they were, but Nana the ever brave and wise knew different. Nana was well meaning, but man was I furious she took me that day to see those monsters.
Her hand, beautifully aged and strong, slipped into mine as she led me from the car to the front door of their prison. I thought it was funny to see a door on a prison. I guess a prison don`t much have a back door.
My steps were slow and heavy. Nana felt me pulling behind her so she paced her steps with mine. She understood the pain I held, the visceral rage that boiled beneath my young skin. Besides, Inez was her daughter, so she had her own feelings of contempt. Inez was my mother, but I never called her that. Really, I didn`t call her much of anything.
.To be continued
Athena`s Arrow is a post-apocalyptic tale of a young woman braving a world ravaged by plague, warfare, and cronus, a powerful new drug that promises to replace the feeling of love. Athena, graced with the wisdom of her grandmother, knows that the world will survive the plague that is humans` but she has yet to determine if humans will survive their own worst enemy- themselves. Keep reading the weekly installments to know the truth.
Natalia Reagan is an anthropologist, comedienne, writer, cartoonist, and photographer. She has appeared on the TODAY Show, Fox Edge News, Playboy Morning Radio, and other various radio shows weighing in on different scientific subjects, from the evolution of boobs and butts to how pheromones play a role in human mating. For her thesis fieldwork she conducted a survey of the critically endangered species, the Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyii azurensis) in rural Panama. As an actor and comedienne Natalia has appeared in My Name is Earl, Better off Ted, and Sex Drive. Natalia`s goal is to meld her two passions and educate people about human behavior and morphology using humor, evolutionary biology, and nonhuman primates as models. Humans are faced with serious environmental consequences (climate change, mass extinctions, super bugs) due to our negligent behavior, and she believes knowledge about our origins will help us find a way to live in harmony with nature. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her amazing fiancée and their gorgeous golden retriever Bea. She generally lives a pants optional lifestyle. For more videos go to: