The Cough Short Story

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The Cough

Six people huddled together in the run-down barn they found on the deserted road. Aria would be found in the only bed there with rusted springs and rotten sheets, crying on Jackson’s shoulder. His face turned to stone with the memories of his family’s demise. Hannah had found a sack of flour and held it close to her chest, drowning it with silent tears. Riley was pacing across the room, making a tap tap tap on the disintegrating floorboards and Willow was hiding in the corner. Dara was groping the darkness, trying to find any source of light.

But in the darkness, somebody coughed.

Dara’s head flew straight up, “Who coughed?!” Her efforts on trying to find a light source doubled. “Please! WHO COUGHED!?”

Aria stayed still and Jackson didn’t move. Hannah only clutched the bag closer to her body and Riley only stopped for a second before becoming more ferocious in her pacing. Willow pressed herself even closer to the corner, making fierce scratches and splinters form on her back. Dara eventually found a flashlight and turned it on. The batteries were dying so she shook it for a moment and the light only improved by a fraction.
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The faint light illuminated the cramped barn and the terrified, tear-streaked faces of her friends with shadows pooling at the corners, lurking just beyond the reach of the flickering flashlight. The Cough is one of the most dangerous epidemics to have ever wreaked havoc on this earth, already claiming more than half of the world’s population. The disease is highly lethal and contagious and the only way to tell if a person has it was the ever so subtle cough. Jackson’s family and Aria’s boyfriend have already met their fate by The Cough and Dara’s sister is dead from severe blood loss by her wounds caused by the

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