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How To Really Save The World

Phase by Phase.

By Stephanie DownardPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 9 min read
Photo by Stephanie Downard.

“I love you, Olivia. I swear I do. That's why it was so hard to keep this from you.”

“Declan, what you did was immoral. How can you live with yourself?”

“Everything I did was for you, for us. It wasn't supposed to end this way. All you had to do was trust me. Why couldn't you just leave it be?”

“Leave it be! Declan, I thought you were cheating on me. I never imagined the truth was far worse than that.”

“I imagined us being a world-renowned power couple. We could have had it all. The fame, the fortune, we would have been unstoppable.”

“People are dying, Declan and all you care about is your 5 minutes of fame. You’re selfish and greedy. I refuse to stand next to a man like you.”

“Damn it, Olivia! Now I’m not even sure you’re worth saving. I don’t want to come out of this a widower. If I can’t make you understand, I’ll have no choice.”

“Declan, please! Don’t let me die here, not like this.”

“You’re right, Olivia. Letting you die is a bit drastic. That’s why I’ve decided if I can’t change your mind, I’ll still let you live.”

“You will?”

“Of course. To the world, you may be dead, but to me, you can be my little pet. I’ll even get you a muzzle. I can picture the headline now,


What do you think, too wordy?”

“No, no, no! Please, please don’t let me end up like that, Declan! I’m begging you!”

“Well, then, Olivia, you better sit down because it’s storytime.”

“Declan, the pain is getting unbearable. I don’t think I have much time left.”

“Oh, sweet Olivia, don't worry, I'm keeping track of the clock. Besides, I have to know which speech to give at the press conference.

A. I saved my loving wife, and now I will save all of you.

Or, B. I began this journey to save my wife. Sadly, I was a mere minute too late.”

“Declan, if you truly love me, you wouldn’t be doing this. Please, just let me out!”

“I can't risk everything I've worked for, Olivia. Our future is in your hands.”

“My hands! Declan, you're the one who's gambling with my life! You can’t possibly think you will get away with this!”

“Whoa, you better settle down. I can see your eyes starting to glaze over. The more you fight me on this, the less time you have. Who’s the selfish one now?”

“Declan, I’m just so scared. I promise I won't tell anyone. What about the baby? Do you want your daughter to grow up without a mother?”

“Sympathy won’t work on me, Olivia. Our daughter will be fine, with or without you. Now, if you’re so concerned, relax, shut up, and let me tell the story.”

How to Save the World

By: Declan Levington

It began nine months ago. Declan and his wife Olivia had received the news they were expecting. You couldn’t even describe the happiness they felt. It was all they ever wanted. Their love for each other grew that day. It was pure bliss for the first few months, but Declan knew things had to change. He was sick of being a nobody. All his life, no matter what he did, it was never good enough. Something inside him snapped, and he decided his child would never know the struggles he endured. So, he devised a plan called, How to Save the World.

It wasn’t going to be easy. He knew there would be sacrifices. That meant long, grueling hours of work and, yes, even casualties. It would all be worth it. When Declan reached the last phase, his wife and child would never need or want anything again. Everything would be perfect. He would be a hero to all.

The first phase would be simple. All he needed was a lab to conduct experiments. Declan found a place outside of town. It was an old abandoned prison. The location was perfect. Not only was it secluded, but the old cells would help contain test subjects. He ran into a few issues with break-ins, but that was an easy fix. The homeless and random teenagers didn’t stand a chance. He only rigged half the building with power and turned on lockdown mode. That way, only he could get in and out with a key card.

Over the next few months, Declan worked tirelessly to get the lab ready. He worried it wouldn’t be up and running in time, but he couldn’t give up. He started leaving his real job early. No one noticed he was gone. To them, he was only a generic lab worker, a nobody. There was a plus side since he was low on the totem pole. It was so much easier to steal lab supplies. Anything and everything was his for the taking. The five-finger discount made it possible to finish phase two.

Now, it was time for the fun stuff, Declan’s favorite of all the phases, phase three. He got to start testing his virus. This one needed the most time and research. It also meant longer hours and more time away from home. The first few weeks of testing went great for Declan. Homeless people still made their way inside the building, making them an easy target to snatch up. Declan could drug them, administer the virus, and lock them in a cell. He watched and waited to see what the incubation period would be. Each test subject took up to three days to start showing symptoms. Some had headaches, others had vomiting, and some had fatigue. By the end of the sixth day is when the real magic happened. The virus was in full force.

Declan hated the term zombie, but in reality, that’s what it was. A vicious rage coursed through the veins. Once it hit your brain, you were a goner. They would become uncontrollable. Madness consumed every inch of their humanity. Declan teased them with drops of fresh blood. He found it humorous to watch them flail around the cell, scratching and banging up again the bars until they bled. To him, they were no longer people, only pawns in his grand scheme.

While everything in the lab was moving smoothly, things at home were rough. Walking in the door, Declan could feel it. The tension was thick. It was like walking through a pool filled with set-up jello. His wife, Olivia, became paranoid. It was actuation after actuation. Declan knew her hormones were at an all-time high. He did what he could to keep her calm, but she wouldn’t t listen. She was very adamant Declan was cheating. Olivia would yell and scream about how he was gone all night. She called his work, and they said he hadn’t worked late for months. She knew he was lying, and she was going to prove it.

Declan hated that Olivia didn’t trust him. He wasn’t cheating, but he couldn’t tell her the truth either. All she had to do was hold on a bit longer, and it would all be perfect. It didn’t work out that way, though. Olivia just had to dig deeper. She couldn’t leave it alone and almost ruined everything Declan worked for.

He was oblivious to the fact that someone was following him. By the time he realized what was happening, it was too late. Olivia had betrayed him. She hired a private investigator, who had been tailing him for weeks. The P.I. took some pretty incriminating photos, which didn’t help Declan's case. It wasn’t what Olivia thought. Declan had to pick up those hookers. He needed more worthless people to finish his testing. The homeless stopped showing up at the prison. He has no choice. Phase four was about to go into effect.

These were only minor setbacks. Taking care of the private investigator was easy. Declan chopped him up and fed him to the infected test subjects. No body, no crime. Plus he found pleasure in giving his pets a special treat. His wife proved to be more difficult. He guessed since Olivia hadn’t heard from the P.I. in a few days, she did some snooping of her own. He never wanted her to get hurt, but in his eyes, it was her fault. If she had listened to him, none of this would have happened. She’s the one who put their unborn daughter in jeopardy by breaking into the lab.

Declan was unaware that she broke in because that night, he had something special planned. He decided before putting phase four in motion he would surprise Olivia with a night home. He wanted to clear the air and try to explain himself without giving his secrets away, but it all went to shit. When he got home the house was in shambles. His office was turned upside down. That’s when he knew he had to rush back to the lab.

When Declan got there, he ran inside and found Olivia standing in the cell block. She had blood running down her arm, crying hysterically. She was bitten, and there was a deep chunk of skin missing. Declan didn’t know what to do, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He sat Olivia down in an empty cell and slammed the bars shut. He felt a little remorse for locking her in there, but she did this to herself. She could wait. He had a plan to stick to. Olivia’s stupidity wouldn’t get in his way.

It was time to put the fourth phase into action. Declan knew this one could be tricky. It was time to spread the virus. He didn’t care how fast or far it went as long as it escalated enough to cause panic. The idea he had wasn’t foolproof, but damn it, it was a start. He only needed to put the virus in the CEO's coffee pot. That exact morning all the top executives had a huge meeting. They flew in from all over the world. Everyone who attended always drank coffee, so he knew the situation was ideal. That gave Declan a week to reproduce as many doses of the antidote as possible. It was the last and final phase, saving the world.

Declan hoped that after Olivia heard all of this, she would understand. She would see all the hard work and sacrifices he made for his family. If she did, they could live happily ever after, but he knew that was a dream. The reality was Olivia had to die. She would not get the antidote. Her death would break Declan’s heart, but it was the only way.

The End.

“Sorry, my dear Olivia, but I have to cut out my daughter now.”

“You’re never laying a hand on my child. She will never live in a world where you’re free.”

“Oh, Olivia, I like how you’re fighting till the end. It makes your death a little more special.”

“I’m not dying today because while you were telling you’re story, I came up with one of my own.”

“I’d love to hear it but remember, Olivia, your clock is running out.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make this quick.”

How to Really Save the World

By: Olivia Levington.

There once was a girl named Olivia, who was very good at keeping secrets. She wasn’t as stupid as Declan thought. He also probably shouldn't have underestimated her. The first mistake he made was not checking her pockets. Not very smart on his part. If he checked, he would have found a cell phone and a key card to the cell door. Olivia wouldn’t have had the chance to shut her phone off for almost a week to save her battery. Then waited for the perfect chance to live stream what could be her last moments. You know, in case her phase one failed. She also wouldn’t be able to use the key card to sneak out and steal an antidote for herself. That she actually injected hours ago while Declan was gone. That was phase two.

Then there’s phase three. It was the satisfaction of Declan’s face when he realized he wasn’t a genius. Olivia gleamed with joy as she looked at the growing views her live stream had. She knew any minute, the police would arrive. It also felt weird talking about herself in the third person. So I guess it's time to end the story. Thanks for joining my press conference. Before she goes, Olivia wanted to leave you with one piece of advice. A villain like Declan never saves the world. That’s a job for a determined mother.

The End.


About the Creator

Stephanie Downard

I'm a mom of 3 plus a bonus son. I've discovered I love writing, and in my free time, that's what I do! I may not be the best, but that will not stop me! It can only go up from here! I hope you enjoy the words that trickle out of my head.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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Comments (7)

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  • Gina C.about a year ago

    This was a very intriguing story! I really enjoyed it. 😊 I was rooting for Olivia!! ❤️❤️

  • The Invisible Writerabout a year ago

    Oh I liked this especially that Olivia came out on top😊

  • Lilly Cooperabout a year ago

    A good read :)

  • Lol, no body no crime, I love that! Olivia is one brilliant woman! Declan ain't bright, lol. I loved your story so much!

  • Tiffany Gordon about a year ago

    Awesome storytelling! Brilliant writing! Awesome work!

  • Kelley Steadabout a year ago

    Very good story. Great narrative. For me, I’d like it to be more linear and pepper the dialogue in among the story. I felt a bit confused reading some parts. It all comes together in the end though which is fantastic. Loved the zombie theme!

  • L.C. Schäferabout a year ago

    Intriguing and twisty! I like it!

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