The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

  • April 9Four members of the debate team qualified for States at their Super Regional tournament on April 6. States will occur April 26 and 27 at JMU.
  • April 9Prom guest forms are available in the front office. Guests who do not attend FCHS must be approved by Mrs. Bruce. Tickets go on sale next week.
  • April 8Culinary will be selling Cake in a Cup, sweet tea, and lemonade during April. Cakes are $3 while sweet tea and lemonade are $1 each.
  • April 8SOL retests will take place April 24 at 8:40 am in room 3110. Contact Ms. Blevins ([email protected]) to sign up.
  • March 26The FCHS Speech team won the State Championship on March 23 at Dominion High School. Five students placed first, two placed second, and one placed third.
The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Image created by Hunter Perkins using Picfinder.
Hunter Perkins
Image created by Hunter Perkins using Picfinder.

Contagious

INT. ARMORED VAN – DAY

A team of soldiers sits inside a van. They’re armored from head to toe and hold rifles in their arms. One of the soldiers, a woman named PRIVATE HELLMAN, talks to another soldier, PRIVATE THORNTON. They sit across from each other in the back of the van. Next to them, closer to the front of the van, sits PRIVATE CASTILLO, a thinner man with glasses and a cigarette.

PRIVATE THORNTON 

Are you sure you’re up for this?

Private Hellman looks at him.

PRIVATE HELLMAN 

I’ve told you about my parents, right?

PRIVATE THORNTON 

Yeah. The fire.

PRIVATE HELLMAN 

Right. I swore to myself I’d never let something like that happen again. Whatever this is, it’s no exception.

PRIVATE THORNTON 

I just know you’re a doctor, not a soldier. You’re not the most experienced person in here. No offense.

PRIVATE HELLMAN 

None taken. I know my limits. But to me, it’s not about succeeding. It’s not even about surviving. It’s about proving my worth to myself.

PRIVATE CASTILLO 

You don’t have to get so personal. You know that, right?

PRIVATE HELLMAN 

I’m fully aware of my flaws. I have no reason to hide them.

PRIVATE CASTILLO Not if your flaws get us all killed. Just sayin’.

The van turns left. In the driver’s seat is PRIVATE YANES, a muscular man with sunken eyes and a boney face. The blonde soldier in the front passenger seat, SERGEANT GRIFFIN, speaks up.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN I hope you all know what we’re getting ourselves into.

Everyone except for Private Yanes looks at Sergeant Griffin.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN (CONT’D) This isn’t a normal operation. We don’t know what we’re up against. All we know is that this town has gone silent. I understand your confidence, but there’s a possibility we’ll end up just like them.

The van falls silent for a moment.

PRIVATE CASTILLO With all due respect, sir, that’s exactly why I’m not going to shut up. I don’t know what we’re headed into, but I’m not going out with silence.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN I respect that, but I don’t want to go out listening to you, jerk.

Private Thornton smiles.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN (CONT’D) Besides, I have family out here. I’d like to have the luxury of worrying about them.

EXT. TOWN OUTSKIRTS – LATER

The van pulls up to the town and the team steps out. The area is beautiful. Just beyond the town and the green land around it is a range of mountains. Everything is silent.

PRIVATE CASTILLO Pretty.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN Let’s go.

EXT. TOWN – MOMENTS LATER

The team sneaks through the town. Private Hellman looks around. There isn’t a single person in sight. She continues into a nearby house that has been left open, her rifle raised.

INT. TOWN HOUSE

Private Hellman enters the kitchen, where she finds the body of a dog. She crouches down next to it and examines it. It doesn’t have a single scratch on it. Private Hellman looks up, shocked, wondering what could’ve happened to it.

PRIVATE THORNTON (O.S.) I found someone!

Private Hellman stands up and leaves as we pan back down to the dog.

INT. RESTAURANT

The body of an older man sits slumped over in a booth with his hand in his lap. Like the dog, the body is unscathed. Private Hellman and Sergeant Griffin approach Private Thornton.

PRIVATE THORNTON He’s completely unscathed.

PRIVATE HELLMAN Whatever happened here, it wasn’t physical. There was no struggle.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN Everyone else is gone. Why do you think he’s the only one in sight?

PRIVATE HELLMAN It’s a sickness.

Sergeant Griffin and Private Thornton look at her.

PRIVATE HELLMAN (CONT’D) There’s a dog a couple doors over. Completely unscathed, just like this man. My guess about why he’s the only one we’ve found so far: He’s elderly. He probably had a preexisting condition, so he was one of the first to go while everyone else was able to get up and leave.

The other two look at her, shocked.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN Let’s keep looking. The rest of them have to be somewhere around here.

EXT. TOWN PLAZA – MOMENTS LATER

A suspenseful track begins to play. We move to the right across the ground as numerous bodies, now younger, lie scattered throughout the plaza, most of them lying with their hands wrapped around their necks. All of them seem to be physically unharmed. The team’s stepping feet emerge on the left side of the screen. We move up and in on the face of Private Hellman as she scans the scenery, shocked. The camera stops as she stops walking. The others keep walking past her. Finally, Private Castillo turns around to face her, breaking her thousand yard stare. He plucks his cigarette butt out of his mouth and onto the ground.

PRIVATE CASTILLO Having second thoughts?

PRIVATE HELLMAN Do you ever shut up?

PRIVATE CASTILLO No, I’m serious.

PRIVATE HELLMAN No. I might be new here, but I’m not any less determined than you are.

PRIVATE CASTILLO Alright. Just making sure.

Private Castillo turns back around and keeps walking. Private Hellman follows, exiting the screen.

A heartbreaking track begins to play in the background. The body of a woman with blonde hair lies on the ground with her hand near her neck, just like the others. Around her neck is a gold pendant. Sergeant Griffin approaches her, kneels down, and looks at her. Their hair colors are the same.

Private Yanes looks down at him with no emotion. Private Castillo watches also.

PRIVATE CASTILLO (O.S.) Man. I’m sorry.

Sergeant Griffin removes the pendant from the body and ties it around his own neck. Then he stands up. He speaks, the emotion noticeable in his speech.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN They suffocated. Everyone around here has their hands around their necks like they somehow thought it would help them. We should keep moving.

Sergeant Griffin keeps walking. The team doesn’t say a word. They follow him without question.

EXT. ROOFTOP – MOMENTS LATER

The team steps out onto the roof from the stairwell. Sergeant Griffin, Private Hellman, and Private Thornton keep walking to the rooftop. Private Castillo leans against the wall, pulls out another cigarette, and lights it. Private Yanes stands next to him. Private Castillo glances at Private Yanes through the corner of his eye.

PRIVATE CASTILLO You don’t talk much, do you?

Private Yanes keeps his eyes ahead of him.

PRIVATE YANES No.

Private Castillo simply nods.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN (O.S) Castillo. Yanes. Get over here.

Private Castillo and Private Yanes follow the others. Soon, they see something shocking down below that we don’t.

PRIVATE CASTILLO Oh my god.

There’s a hole on the roof of the building below them. Through the hole, they see a crashed spacecraft. Faint choking sounds are heard. Private Hellman slowly looks over at their source: Private Castillo. The other team members look over at him in fear. Private Hellman rushes over to him just as he collapses onto the ground.

PRIVATE HELLMAN Come on, Castillo. Talk to me. Breathe.

He continues to struggle as he turns blue. Sergeant Griffin leans in.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN Come on, you said you weren’t going out in silence. Just breathe! You’re not done yet!

Private Castillo’s muscles relax and his arm slumps to his side. The life fades from his eyes. The team looks down at him in shock. Sergeant Griffin steps back.

SERGEANT GRIFFIN We need to keep moving. We can’t let that thing take any more lives.

Private Thornton looks over at him while Private Hellman continues to look down at Castillo’s body.

I/E. BUILDING

The team slowly closes in on the spacecraft, weapons raised. There is no music. Only silence. The spacecraft’s metal plating is rippled and buckled, nearly coming loose. Smoke rises from the seams. Sergeant Griffin signals for them to surround the spacecraft. Sweat drips from Private Hellman’s face as she closes in. Finally, the content of the spacecraft becomes visible to her: a small blue creature with large, innocent eyes. She looks at it, shocked.

She hears choking sounds and looks to her right to see Private Thornton drop his rifle and wrap his hands around his neck. Thornton slowly walks over to Private Hellman as if she can somehow help him. Finally, he collapses. Private Hellman’s eyes widen with fear as she rushes over to him and checks on his body. Tears fill her eyes as she realizes he’s gone.

Sergeant Yanes simply stares at the extraterrestrial. Sergeant Griffin starts gasping for air next. Private Hellman watches him with fear, but does nothing to save him, choosing to carry out his final orders and stand her ground. He collapses to the floor and stops struggling. Private Hellman glances over at Private Yanes, who is now the only one left standing besides her. His rifle is lowered. He drops it on the ground loudly, then steps toward the extraterrestrial.

PRIVATE HELLMAN Yanes! What are you doing?

PRIVATE YANES I’ve seen a child like this one before. It killed my family just like it did this village. You said you swore to never allow people to die again. But you don’t know what this thing is. So I’m going to kill it.

Private Hellman stares at the extraterrestrial. It reaches out for her. Private Yanes steps toward it. Private Hellman glances over at Private Yanes.

PRIVATE HELLMAN It didn’t kill your family.

Private Yanes looks at her.

PRIVATE HELLMAN (CONT’D) It’s sick.

PRIVATE YANES You swore to help people. If this thing survives, all of humanity could die.

PRIVATE HELLMAN I did swear, but this thing is innocent. I don’t think it’s right.

Private Yanes looks back at the extraterrestrial. Then he lunges for it. Private Hellman aims her rifle at him and he stops.

PRIVATE HELLMAN Don’t. Do. It.

PRIVATE YANES Hellman. Think about this.

PRIVATE HELLMAN I don’t need to think about it. Who says this thing can’t be considered human? What if this is my chance?

PRIVATE YANES But think of how many more people you could save. Put down the gun.

PRIVATE HELLMAN I can’t.

PRIVATE YANES You can.

PRIVATE HELLMAN I can’t.

Private Yanes sighs, then whips out a pistol and shoots Private Hellman. She drops to the ground on her back. The child cries. Private Yanes begins strangling the child, but then he slows down. He begins choking and wraps his hands around his own neck instead of the child’s. Private Hellman looks up at him. Finally, he drops to his knees, then to the ground. He goes limp. Private Hellman slowly puts her head back down and looks up through the hole in the ceiling.

The sky is still just as blue as when they arrived. A helicopter is heard in the background before flying overhead. Private Hellman slowly rolls over. She crawls toward the spacecraft with everything she has. Finally, she grabs the edge of the vehicle and pulls herself up.

Private Hellman looks down at the child with awe. It looks back up at her and stops crying. It reaches out and touches her face. She smiles slightly.

PRIVATE HELLMAN Look at you.

The child touches her nose. She takes it into her arms and holds it.

PRIVATE HELLMAN (CONT’D) That’s quite a cold you have. Lucky for you, I happen to be a doctor.

She stands there, bleeding, as the light shines down on her through the hole in the roof.

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