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Rex Huang, 11
Lake Oswego, OR

The Silent Threat

Rex Huang, 11

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. That day lightning cracked outside, as loud as firecrackers. There was snow as far as the eye could see. And yet, everyone except me and my mother flocked outside for an Armistice Day celebration. But me and my mother were worried, for if we went, something horrible will haunt us. It’s not lightning–it’s the Spanish Flu.

Everyone had lived through the trepidation of the war, but now that it was over, most weep in joy and think it is time for mass celebration. But a more deadly, quiet threat was still lurking. My grandmother still remembers the 1890 flu outbreak. Our other family members, I better not say. My father had been in the trenches. He had left Philadelphia in hopes of earning some cash to support my schooling. He sacrificed his life for mine. A half year later, we received notice that he perished. Not on the field, but on the hospital bed. So we knew better than to go outside for a party and risk the extinction of our family.

Now fast forward a year. It was a hot summer day. My mother is weeping in tears at my father's funeral. We are grateful the tragedies are over. Trucks wail outside as the bodies of the dead are brought out of the city. All the while, people next to us mouth prayers. The virus is over. But the damage had been done. The city is eerie quiet. No one is walking the streets. Those people know that one case could launch the city into chaos. But for now, no cases have been reported for a week. But, I knew that there would be a parade some time soon.

Today the party was grand. But it was not a party. Rather, it was a memory. The same trucks used to carry bodies now carry floats. The people drink tea, for there was a rumor that doctors used opium overdoses to kill patients. And blue banners were revealed through the city, the same color that patients face’s turned. Finally, there was the real Armistice Day celebration. But we still lived in fear of one patient ruining it all. But, we were fortunate. Nothing was reported. The day was the most joyful day anyone could remember. The flu was an unpleasant experience. And I hope something similar never happens again.

This story was entered in the Flash Contest based on Daily Creativity Prompt #91, in July 2020.

Reader Interactions


  1. Holy cow! What an amazing story, Rex! It is so wise to put our current troubles into an historical context. It helps us feel things and think things we may otherwise block out. Your structure for this story is superb, in addition to the setting. I am so impressed.

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